Meet the Mentor: Nicole Thien

This is part of an ongoing Maker Mentors guest blog series that features interviews with established makers.  Join the updates or recommend a maker for the blog.

What does your business do? I am the founder and social media manager at Social Boutique.  I am also the blogger behind Uniquely Women.  As a social manager, I work with businesses, entrepreneurs, and creatives to help brand their own personal story as well as create a blog / website that is unique to their brand.  I create custom campaigns to help businesses gain exposure and engage with their target market.

When did you start your business? I officially formed Social Boutique in January 2015.  Prior to that, I had been doing freelance social media consulting while I was employed full-time in healthcare.  I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.  After realizing the need for social media marketing among business, I knew that I could build a business that I’m passionate about while helping others.

What kind of work were you doing before you started your business? After I graduated with my nursing degree in 2011, I started working as a hospice liaison which encompassed both healthcare and marketing.  My passion for blogging started while in nursing school and opened my eyes to the power of social media.  After losing my job last December, I made the decision to start my own social media marketing business.


HANDMADE SCARVES ON ARTFIRE


What was the biggest challenge in getting started? The biggest challenge in the beginning was time management.  Having a schedule is crucial.  Planning out a to-do list keeps me on task and focused for the day.  I also learned that scheduling breaks and time away from the computer is just as important for your mental well-being.

What product/service are you most proud of? I enjoy the social media consulting aspect of my company because I get to show business owners how they can successfully create awareness of their brand online.  Being able to create websites / blogs for clients is a fun creative outlet where I love to spend my time as well.

How did you find your first few customers? The first true business clients after forming Social Boutique were through freelance networking sites.  These freelance sites are communities of entrepreneurs in need of various marketing services that are can consist of ongoing projects or one-time jobs.  I continued to get new jobs from those sites.  Now, the majority of my business comes from client referrals.

What marketing tactics have been most successful for you? Network, network, network.  It really is all about you know.  The vast majority of my clients now come from referrals of people I have worked with.  Another great tactic is to connect with other like minded creatives that share the same values as you.  Starting these connections helped me focus on what I wanted to achieve and empowered me to stick to my values.  It’s great to have each other to bounce ideas off of and collaborate on projects.  It has been a game changes for my business.

Who are three creatives that inspire you? Oh man it is going to be hard to only pick three creatives.  There is so much talent out there but here it goes:

  1. Jenna Kutcher Wedding Photographer, watercolor artist, teacher and blogger.  This gal does it all.
  2. Jillian Harris, her interior design for Love it or List it Too on HGTV as well as her lifestyle blog are must reads for me.  She has a knack for creating swoon worthy spaces.
  3. A Beautiful Mess: This might be everyone’s top read, but I love it too!  Their love for DIY projects gets my creative juices flowin’.

What does a typical day look like for you? I spend about 5-6 hours of my day working on client work.  The rest of my day is focused on writing/planning out blog post and any miscellaneous items that pop up.  No two days are ever the same, so I’ve learned to plan for the unknown.  Whether it’s a meeting, an appointment, an event, or client phone call, I’ve found it extremely beneficial to schedule some open time in my workday.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you started your business? The success you achieve in your business will come from strategically RUNNING your business.  This was hard for me to understand in the beginning.  You need to set aside time to market yourself / business, strategize, set goals, track financials, and answer emails.  You will need to take a step back, set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them.

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