FCM Business Insights with Sarah Kirkpatrick

Photo: Armand Flores

Sarah is a social media manager, copywriter, public speaker, and owner of Jumping Elephant – groundbreaking advertising, www.jumpingelephant.guru.

FCM sat down with Sarah to get her insights on business and entrepreneurship. Here are her thoughts:

Why become a business owner?
Freedom. I like to travel a lot and work late and sleep-in sometimes. Being in the creative industry, you can’t be forced to work within certain parameters. You’re creative when you’re creative. Sometimes you have to go to a movie then come back and work late at night when the creative juices are flowing.

My mom was an entrepreneur. I saw how much freedom she had. I like the idea that when you put in a lot of effort, you reap the benefits, rather than someone else reaping them.

What are some of the challenges on starting your own business?
You don’t really realize when you’re working for someone else how hard it is to find clients. It’s easy to do content writing. That comes in naturally to me. But when it’s your own business, you have to take on all the admin roles, finding clients, and customer service. You do roles you never expected. I can’t just show up and get a paycheck. If I don’t find clients, I’m not getting paid.

Do you have staff?
I have three contractors that work for me. I have two writers and a strategist.

What’s the inspiration behind Jumping Elephants?
I’ve always had this infatuation with elephants. They’re the most amazing animals. I wanted to incorporate that. It’s a fact that elephants can’t jump so I thought “that’d be ground-breaking”. And I like puns, so ‘Jumping Elephant – ground-breaking advertising’ was born.

How’s your business doing?
Really well. Strategy is picking up a lot. I used to only do content creation – full social media management for businesses – but with the recession, people didn’t have money to hire me in full for that. So I started putting on seminars to teach them how to do it themselves; then I offer strategies and consulting. Now I have a more well-rounded service offering and to help a range of budgets. It’s more fun. I love doing public speaking and putting on seminars.

As a woman, is it difficult to be in business?
I don’t know if it matters too much. Of course there’s still some snags – or you wouldn’t be asking. For example, you never know if someone is asking you for a coffee and wants to talk business or just go on a date. You have to be really clear. I don’t think it’s more difficult for women to start a business than men, there are just more things to watch for. Go in with your talents and what makes you happy and you’ll be successful.

What are the top things you need to do to run a successful consulting business?
It’s different with everyone. I have an open profile and I welcome people to communicate with me and I offer tips. A lot of my time is spent on Facebook messenger, and putting content out to remind people about social media management. So whatever your advertising is, whether in Facebook or Instagram, or print advertising, it’s staying on top of it and following up with clients. Don’t be afraid to say “let’s meet”. You can exchange a lot of email and it might not go anywhere. You have to actually have that coffee and sit down with them. Other than that, it is all about internal processes and bringing on the right people. Stay organized!.

How important is social media and where do you see it going?
It’s already in a transition. People don’t like getting sold to. They automatically have their guard up when they know it’s an ad. So we’re transitioning into 2-way communication and relationship building. A lot of my clients, before they hire me, have pages that are ‘sale, sale, sale’. I have to change their thinking – to offer free advice and give interesting information. It’s about being everything to them. You’re not just selling to them. You’re offering advice to them so that you build trust. And later down the road when they have a need, you’re the first one to come to mind. Because they’ve already engaged with you online they trust you – you offered good info making you an expert. It’s a long term marketing process. And if you don’t have a website to direct them to you’ve lost them – you don’t seem like a reputable company. Website’s are very important.

-FCM

 

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