AMBER BARRY ON HER CAREER IN DIGITAL MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING
So, why don’t you tell our readers who you are and what you do? Hi, I’m Amber! I’m a Registered Nurse and a Certified Health Coach specializing in digital marketing, social media advertising and automations. I work with entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them pull things in their business together so life feels less chaotic and more manageable. To accomplish this, I work one-on-one with my clients to streamline their systems, package their products and leverage them in the marketplace so they’re the no-brainer solution their audience is looking for. Once that solid foundation is created we aim big with advertising to boost their visibility and increase their sales! My overall goal is to make people’s lives as business owners less overwhelming and easier to navigate.
Let’s begin with how you got started. How old were you, where were you, and what was your situation financially? In 2011, I founded a wellness business called Whole & Vibrant Living. I had been out of nursing school for a few years at that point, and I wanted to take a more holistic approach to health and wellness, so I became a Certified Health Coach. I coached clients, created online wellness content, blogged, taught live wellness classes and workshops, and built a collaborative team of wellness professionals. My mission? To spread the health and help people live happier, more passionate lives. I was in my early 30s, operating my business out of my house and also working full time as a nurse. It was a little hectic, but I felt like I was on a mission!
What I didn’t know when I started my wellness business was that I was going to spend the majority of my time learning about website development, marketing and advertising, social media strategy, SEO, sales funnels, email campaigns… basically tech, tech and more tech! The list went on and on, and as I dove deeper into it my focus shifted a bit. I was still passionate about health and wellness, but I was becoming more and more intrigued by digital marketing.
What was the catalyst that made you take the plunge into this industry? What was the situation that encouraged you to give this a real shot? I found myself working 80 hours a week. Trying to build up a business, grow an email list, find new clients and increase your sales is a lot of work! Doing all of that while also trying to deliver an amazing customer experience and make a difference in people’s lives is even harder. And then add a full time day job on top of it… it was enough to make my head explode, and eventually I got irreversibly burnt out.
Hindsight taught me that I was trying to do too much. I wasn’t willing to hire anyone to help me, or even to delegate. I learned the hard way that it’s ok to accept help, and that you don’t have to be a master of all things. I also learned that if I wanted to fuel passionate people I could use everything I learned about digital marketing, advertising and tech over the past decade to help people succeed in business. It was a big pivot for me, but it’s been extraordinarily rewarding!
Tell us the story of your first legit client (that is a stranger, someone you don’t know). How did you find them, and what do you attribute as the reason why they chose to work with you? I was just starting my business, which is a very vulnerable time. I think there’s often a lot of self doubt and uncertainty involved, even if you’re confident in what you’re bringing to the table. I was determined to put myself out there though, regardless of how uncomfortable it felt, and part of that included starting conversations. I was becoming more active in Facebook groups at the time, and chatting with a lot of business owners about the struggles of running a business and how to overcome the hurdles. I met a nice woman, who mentioned a company she was a chocolatier for. We had a great talk, and the following day I thought I’d go out on a limb and contact the company she had mentioned. It felt like a bold move, but I figured what did I have to lose.
I sent them a Facebook message out of the blue, and the following day they responded and said they needed help and would love to talk to me about my services. They went on to hire me, and we’ve had an extraordinary business relationship ever since! Those small wins are SUCH a confidence boost. I really encourage everyone to try new ways to reach new clients, even if they don’t think they’ll work. Sometimes you’ll be surprised!
Wow Amber. This is the advice I've been taking lately, and I agree it's opening doors. So tell us the first 5 steps you took to make this dream career your reality. Things unfolded very quickly once I decided to start this business. It was actually meant to be a bit of a side hustle, because I was working in a nursing job that I loved… but then COVID happened. I found out I was losing my nursing job, and the ideas I had for my business suddenly started pouring in, so I got to work!
• The first steps I took were to create my LLC, file for an EIN and open a bank account to make my business legit. • Then I started putting the foundational tech pieces in place: business email, scheduling service, CRM, social media pages, website. • I integrated everything, and put together a free offer that I could start marketing to build an audience. • I made myself take breaks, and committed myself to getting outside every day for exercise, even if it was just for a walk. • I devoted a huge chunk of time every week to reaching out to new businesses, making connections with new people online and just networking in general. I also committed myself to popping into different Facebook groups to really listen to the challenges people were having, so I knew exactly what I could do to make their lives easier.
One of the keys (I say) to scoring new clients is to position yourself as an expert in your field. Based on your 5 steps Amber, you've knocked that out of the park. So, awesome! Now that we have the 5 steps, is there anything you would say was a hurdle to you getting started that someone in your field may want to avoid? Yes, definitely! In business, and life in general, there are often hurdles. Figuring out how to navigate them easily and successfully is the name of the game. Here are my best two tips for people getting started in any business:
Know who you’re talking to. Who are your products or services for? Because they can’t be for everyone. Trying to market to everyone waters down your efforts. Knowing your audience and what their challenges are will help you create marketing that resonates with your potential customers AND help you deliver better solutions.
Know your goals. Businesses evolve and grow over time, so it can be hard to know what the big picture looks like right from the start… but the more you understand where you’re going the better you can set yourself up for success. One example of this: choosing the right tech to meet your needs. There are an awful lot of different platforms and software out there, but most of them have a bit of a learning curve. If you know what your goals are it will help you choose the right tool for the job. This way you’re investing your time and energy into learning ONE thing. Hopping from software to software is time consuming and exhausting. I think most people want to choose something that’s free or inexpensive to start off with, but if you’re aiming high I encourage you to invest a bit of money and get it set up up correctly right from the get go. You’ll thank yourself in the long run. I use Ontraport and I highly recommend it.
What sets you a part from others as a digital marketer and advertiser? I am all about creating digital flow and integrated systems. I believe wholeheartedly in organic reach and paid advertising, but before you invest your time, energy and money into anything it’s important to set the foundation. I actually discourage people from paying for advertising if their foundation isn’t fully optimized, because why pay to drive traffic to your site or pages if people don’t have a clear path to follow when they get there? I know how easy it is to get burnt out, and I want every single ounce of energy and every penny invested to work hard for my clients. Building the foundation sets them up to maximize their marketing and advertising efforts.
Yes! I needed that reminder myself. Foundation first. Then drive traffic. For future clients, how can we connect with you? You can learn more about me and the services I offer on my website. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram, and I have a private Facebook group called The Go-Getters Club, where we focus on turning small, consistent steps into big wins and massive momentum.
Enjoyed this interview? Looking to hire Amber? Visit her website or follow her on social media and get connected today!