How I Started A $96K/Year Digital Consultancy Business As A Single Mother

Published: January 28th, 2022
Emily Allard
Founder, Socialbuzzhive
from Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
started February 2018
Discover what tools Emily recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Emily recommends to grow your business!
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m Emily Standley, a nationally published content creator and digital marketing strategist based in South Florida. I’m the spearhead behind the popular digital marketing blog Socialbuzzhive!

My passion is helping creative entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide, leverage the power of digital technology to reach virtual markets; to build a larger presence online, discover the best ways to make money online, and grow the foundation for a successful online business.

I started my blog from home with zero followers, and it has grown to a community of over 4 million. Through a combination of affiliate marketing, advertising, digital courses, and product reviews, the blog earns over $8,000 monthly.


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

Back in 2004, I was left with the responsibility of raising 3 active young children. As a single mother, things became rapidly more hectic in my life. But despite these challenges, I knew it was possible to pursue a successful and flexible career online and earn substantial revenue from it.

I was fueled by resilience, the need for work-life balance, and financial resources. I became certified in Google Adwords & Analytics, SEO, and various digital marketing strategies. Through my education, I was able to grow and take on private consultations with individuals and aspiring companies seeking to enhance their online presence. This allowed me to find a balance between family duties and career and make money.

As a person whose proficiencies hinged upon digital marketing, I used my experience and capabilities to start my newfound blog with the mission to provide expert resources for others looking for ways to grow a business from anywhere or make more money online.

With the growing number of competing websites online, I learned that many companies and entrepreneurs were in dire need of ways to promote their businesses.

Even before the Covid pandemic, I knew the option of flexibility and remote work would be a vital means of survival. My blog shows you ways to not only survive but thrive in a competitive landscape.

In the coming years, I hope to become even more of a go-to figure when it comes to scaling one’s business and sharing ways to earn a comfortable living online from home or from anywhere.

With my credible expertise in keeping up with digital marketing trends and dedication towards my craft, be assured I can help you reach your goals.

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

The digital offerings in my Academy are all related to growing a successful blog and expanding your business online in the digital age, and what it takes to stand out amongst your competition.

They are completely affordable and many of the resources are free. They also include links to templates, swipe files, guides, videos, white papers, and other powerful strategies that are designed to help accelerate your growing business.

I always look to my audience to determine what type of content is needed the most.

My costs are all minimal as all the software I use from content creation, to design, to marketing analytics, email marketing, SEO, and more, is all top-notch, yet affordable.

Social media marketing is a primary means of promotion for my business as it should be for everyone.

Social media is a high-value, low-cost way to market your business effectively and reach more prospects, get more engagement, make more connections and ultimately improve your bottom line!

One course in the Academy focuses exclusively on how anyone can leverage social media platforms to make money via social media marketing methods. It is also available on Amazon and Audible.

Remember, “comparison is the thief of joy”. Always take pride in what you are doing no matter how painstakingly slow it seems to be going.

It’s important to take some time to do proper research into what SaaS products will work the best for you and your business.

On the blog I offer top product reviews of those products and services I have tried and recommend for creative entrepreneurs and businesses of any size and industry.

The great thing about running an online business is that start-up costs can be minimal and don’t have to burn a hole through your wallet.

The main thing is to have a niche you are passionate about, one that you can see yourself in for a long time, have an attractive and well-optimized website, and then be sure to be compliant with all online policies and regulations such as trademarks, GDPR, posting privacy notices, disclosures, FTC disclaimers and terms of service.


Describe the process of launching the business.

It took a good year before I started to make my presence known in the online world.

Being that I was a solopreneur managing everything myself. Looking back, I would have taken my advice and hired freelancers to outsource certain things such as social media, blog writing, SEO, and other day-to-day tasks so I could concentrate on getting the word out more.

The website has gone through several make-overs.

A word of advice! Make sure you do your due diligence when it comes to hiring a website designer or developer. I made the mistake of hiring someone without doing adequate homework and suffered the consequences of not getting a finished product and losing money!

I’m not saying you need to pay an arm and a leg for a beautiful website with all the bells and whistles.

There are many talented website freelancers out there on various marketplaces that charge very reasonable rates, but make sure you read reviews, get examples of past projects and discuss your ideas in detail.

Overall, with all the changes and upgrades I made to the website over 3 years I spent roughly $3,500 to get it the way I liked.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is don’t try to save money by skimping on outsourcing. It can ultimately save you more money, along with a ton of effort and time, and literally, help you from getting burnt out and going insane during the early busy days of starting your business.

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

I cannot recommend a proper SEO, email marketing, and Social Media campaign strategy enough to increase traffic and boost sales to your business.

These are the lifeblood you need to carry you through and start getting more leads, make more conversions and obtain more prospects. I even came out with a simple course to help you master SEO strategies.

It's called Ultimate SEO Boss - How to Learn SEO without Losing Your Mind

Sure, you can spend money on PPC ad campaigns Facebook ads, etc. but you will quickly burn a hole through your pocket that may or may not create a good enough return on investment (ROI).

Ultimately organic search optimization, even though it takes time to cultivate, is the way that people will discover you and continue to find you in the SERPs. Social media is word-of-mouth advertising, and proper social media marketing is an absolute must to help you to stay in touch with your audience regularly.

My marketing efforts are a blend of targeted social media marketing campaigns, regular email newsletters, SEO, Pinterest ads, occasional PPC ads, directory inclusions, TikTok videos, YouTube, Instagram stories/reels, Amazon influencer affiliates, interviews such as this one, and promoting other businesses in my niche on my blog.

If you’d like to be included on the blog to reach a wider audience, reach out to me!

If you have a blog or business you need help driving more traffic towards your website I highly recommend you read my detailed post on How to Promote Your Blog to Get More Traffic, it is filled with over 50 creative and unique ways that you probably haven’t heard of before to start sending traffic to your business faster.

Everything I do begins with a “why?”, if a certain social platform doesn’t work for me so well, why would I bother with it and waste my time? I know it’s easy to want to be everywhere at once but you have to determine if it is worth your cost and your efforts. If your Twitter account is bringing no clicks to your website, it makes no sense. Similarly, if you are getting a bunch of ‘vanity’ likes and no returns for the effort you put into LinkedIn or Pinterest, switch up your tactics. Social media campaigns are all about testing and seeing what works best for you and your business. The answers lie in the data, so don’t ignore them.

Amazon is a mega powerhouse for influencers and creative entrepreneurs. I am also an influencer with the Amazon program. I create ebooks and audible books which I sell on Amazon and promote on my blog, along with some of my favorite products like cruelty-free cosmetics, household items, and others.

Amazon Live recently came out with the option for influencers to promote items live, build an audience and earn more commissions.

After all, we all know how hot video, especially live video, is right now. If you simply post text ads from Amazon on your blog or website you can earn commissions and passive income from them but their commission rates are not the highest. However, if your blog has a great deal of traffic (this is where the power of SEO comes in) and someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you will receive a commission on all the products they order. Not just the one product they originally clicked on.



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

The future's looking bright and full of opportunities! My blog is proof that you can go from zero to hero with a vision and hard effort. With more and more people flocking to online businesses and eCommerce booming into the trillions, there is no better time than now to start and grow your own online business.

Thanks to the internet and smartphones, the amount of business being conducted online is truly astronomical. There’s no reason why anyone can’t learn how to run a successful business online, stand out on the web, have flexible work/life harmony, make potentially huge, unlimited profits, and also help others!

Every day I enjoy researching and creating new projects. While I’m doing this the blog earns passive income via my affiliate marketing and advertising partners.

I love hearing from businesses or individuals who want to connect with me to ask how they can grow and accelerate their business online.

My day-to-day operations run basically on autopilot now and I work 4 hours a day on the weekends...vs 12hrs a day when I first started.

I have learned so much and continue learning every day from those around me and those who have forged ahead with just an idea and a dream.

Everyone was a beginner at one point. Always say positive things about yourself and never negative. Use positive affirmations daily if necessary. Your mind listens to what you say about yourself.

I am growing my reach in Asia and Canada now, and social media growth continues to thrive.

My long-term goal is to offer the blog in several different languages. I’ll also enter into more personal finance topics, more ways to earn online, as well as offer powerful mindset tips and actionable strategies for entrepreneurs to help build mental resilience. This is key for anyone interested in growing and maintaining a successful venture either on or offline.

I am also interested in starting a podcast and offering more Amazon ebooks, and easy to digest resources and courses to help entrepreneurs just starting.


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

It’s super easy to get blindsided by ‘shiny object syndrome’ which I discuss in my eBook: How to Build Your Epic Online Business

It’s crucial to stay laser-focused on your goals and objectives when you start a business of any kind. There’s a lot of noise out there that will try and pull you in multiple directions.

It’s also easy as an entrepreneur to suffer from burnout and lose your way, or get stuck. I also talk about this in the eBook. I went through many challenges sorting out what worked and what didn’t for me. It’s different for everyone but one thing holds; consistency, dedication, and persistence are everything.

Slow and steady wins the race and if you are truly committed to making something work it will happen. It may take more time than you imagined but you can achieve success.

Some helpful tips I recommend are;

  • Never stop learning
  • Be open to pivoting direction
  • Learn to adapt to circumstances
  • Don’t get discouraged
  • Failure is not an option
  • What you do every day will determine your success

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

My favorite tools for day-to-day business are Semrush, Tailwind app, Promo Republic, ConvertKit, Google Suite, Grammarly,, Yoast SEO plugin, and more!

I created a complete list of recommended tools and resources I use for business.

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

As an avid reader, I find inspiration in many different types of books on various subjects.

Some of my favorite books are;

These books all share a similar theme which is simply to show you positive ways to change your life for the better. Whether you want to develop better habits, jumpstart your income and your success, learn how to have more mastery over your life, more power and influence, get rid of toxic people in your life or just be more effective and productive in your day to day life.

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

Making mistakes is a given when venturing into anything new, and the best way we as humans learn. As a beginner entrepreneur, you are bound to make a whole lot of mistakes. I know I sure did! But why not do yourself a favor and avoid some of the major pitfalls if you can.

You can save yourself so much time, money, and anguish if you are aware of some very simple and quite common mistakes that frequently occur in those first few months. Do yourself a favor and don’t take the hard route. Learn from those who have been there and avoid these errors. And if you recognize that you’ve already done some of these things, then there are easy fixes towards mending them.

My top mistakes and advice for others to avoid when starting are the following;

  • Don’t treat your website or blog as a hobby
  • Treat your blog like a business
  • Be coherent, professional, and consistent with your designs
  • Make sure you build an email list from the very beginning
  • Make sure you outsource help
  • Make sure to use scheduling tools
  • Make sure to offer free resources or opt-ins
  • Don’t ignore affiliate marketing
  • Don’t ignore the 80/20 rule for promotion
  • Don’t ignore blogger outreach
  • Learn proper SEO
  • Don’t get burned out
  • Don’t ignore your analytics
  • Don’t ignore your audience
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Stop comparing yourself to others

Remember, “comparison is the thief of joy”. Always take pride in what you are doing no matter how painstakingly slow it seems to be going. Keep your head down and concentrate solely on your audience, their preferences, and solving their needs, pains and problems.

Everyone was a beginner at one point. Always say positive things about yourself and never negative. Use positive affirmations daily if necessary. Your mind listens to what you say about yourself.

So act and be like the wonderful creation you are!

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I am thrilled to work with individuals, writers, companies, and brands with excellent reputations and will serve the highest value to our audience.

I seek out long-term partnerships with businesses that are committed to delivering high-quality services and products.

To give an example, Socialbuzzhive collaborates with many top industry players like; More Visibility, Hubspot, Promo Republic, Brand Builders, SEMrush,, Convertkit, Canva Design, and Elementor (just to name a few).

We have various guest writing opportunities available as well that help improve your traffic goals and global reach.

We can create a customized bundle designed to suit your individual promotional needs, just reach out!

Where can we go to learn more?