Amplifying Your Voice and Creating an Impact with Social Media Strategist Andrea Jones

From an early age Andrea Jones was convinced that she wanted to pursue a traditional career path and climb the corporate ladder. Coming from a family of business owners, Andrea had direct insight into the struggles and hardships that came with entrepreneurship and she was certain that it wasn’t for her. But over 6 years […]

From an early age Andrea Jones was convinced that she wanted to pursue a traditional career path and climb the corporate ladder. Coming from a family of business owners, Andrea had direct insight into the struggles and hardships that came with entrepreneurship and she was certain that it wasn’t for her.

But over 6 years ago, Andrea quit her job in Atlanta, Georgia, and moved to Toronto, Canada with her husband. Little did she know, this move was the catalyst that led her to discover her true passion and embark on her own journey to start her business.

Andrea Jones Website: https://onlinedrea.com/

Josh:
Hi, everyone. This week, we are here with Andrea Jones. She is a social media strategist who took her business online in 2014, which is, terrible at math, seven years ago now.

Andrea:
Yeah.

Josh:
Seven years ago, and she now has 11 people on her team working for her in various capacities, which is pretty awesome. That’s amazing. I would imagine even rewinding for myself, looking at you, I’d be like, how the heck did that happen? Let’s talk about it. What happened?

Andrea:
Yeah. Great question, big question. It’s funny because both of my parents were entrepreneurs, business owners, I should say, and I was always like, growing up, “I never want that struggle,” because it seemed so hard. I was so convinced to get the traditional job. But I’m a creative person and I was working at the spa in Atlanta. There’s a few different… Spa Sydell people live in Atlanta. They’re a boutique spa. I was managing a few locations and I was also creating YouTube videos on the side, so I loved… I was just documenting my life and my literal thoughts at the time and collaborated with my husband, kind of like this. We did an interview-style series and then we kept talking after. This was before we were married, obviously. That’s part of the story.
Because I met him, I quit my job. I moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Toronto, Canada, and that move is when I started the business. I just started freelancing. I was like, “No, I could do anything.” I have a degree in English literature, so I was writing blog posts for people. That turned into writing social media posts, which turned into managing social. I didn’t realize that was a thing, like a job, because at the time, it was kind of like, “You’re the youngest person on the team, Andrea, you manage the spa’s social,” or even friends and family would say, “Hey, I’m starting at this Facebook page. What do I say? What do I do?” I was already doing that and I didn’t realize it was a job at it, so with the move to another country, that really was the catalyst for starting the business, because otherwise, I was really going for that more traditional “Let’s climb the corporate ladder” type of work.

Josh:
How do you feel, looking back about that change, having gone from what you told yourself you’re going to do, and then now obviously, you ended up following in the footsteps in some ways? What does that feel like for you now in terms of your day-to-day? Do you look at the other life and think about it or are you very …? How has your mindset shifted now that you’ve been doing it for a while?

Andrea:
I don’t think I could have a job. I don’t think I could go back to a traditional job. It would take a lot for me to be able to do that. Number one, I’m making way more money I would have than if I had followed that path. I just basically get to create as much money as I want by building my business online, so that’s neat. I also have tattoos now. I wasn’t allowed to do that in corporate America, so I don’t think I could go back for those reasons.
But I do miss some of it. Being virtual, even though I do have a team, there’s never a happy hour “Let’s go out for drinks after work” kind of thing, so I do miss some aspects of that kind of comradery, but honestly, it’s opened up so much more. I mean, even in a year like 2020 with the pandemic, I feel like there’s a potential for me to get laid off if I was in another traditional job, whereas my business has benefited because digital marketing is more important now than ever, so it has its give and take, but mindset, totally different. I spend a lot more time at home now, so I made sure my house was all set up exactly the way that I want it. But yeah, I mean, otherwise, I’m loving it.

Josh:
Yeah. What would you say? Because I think your story’s a little different, right? Because I think for a lot of the stories that we do on here, right, it’s like somebody who really disliked the situation they were in, or things weren’t the way they wanted it, or they always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, but it’s interesting because you were almost the opposite, so then it raises this question in my mind of what drives you, then? What is your ambition? Because it sounds like, and you correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like it wasn’t about, “Oh, I need to go off and do my own thing.” It sounds like it was different, so what is it that drives you to keep going and push through? Because I’m also guessing it’s still not easy, even though maybe it wasn’t always your dream and then you’re like, “Oh, it’s hard, but it’s my dream,” doesn’t mean that it’s not hard still. I guess that’s two questions. One is: What is your drive? Then two: What keeps you going?

Andrea:
Hmm. Yeah. It’s interesting because you’re right in that I didn’t necessarily have this be my dream and my vision. But honestly, when I worked at the spa, I worked for Spa Sydell, which was a smaller chain, and then I worked for Marriott Spas, which obviously Marriott Hotels is a huge corporate chain. That opportunity was the one that I didn’t like, where when I met my husband, he was like, “Oh, this is getting serious. What should we do?” I was like, “I’ll leave my job,” because I didn’t like it. It was very corporate.
But in that structure, we took this leadership training course and one of the questions was, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” At the time I was like, “I would love to just do the social media part of my job,” because even though I was a spa manager, I was running social for the entire hotel because I was one of the youngest on the team, so I would love to just do that piece of the job. They were like, “That doesn’t exist. That’s not a real thing,” and so even then I knew I wanted to play in this space, and so I think that piece of it, because I actually enjoy social media. As an introvert, I have a lot more control over when I show up and how I show up, so that piece of it I really like.
But then also, when I started my business, I got a taste for this freedom and flexibility to plan your own day and have your own schedule and the financial piece of it, too, where being 31 years old and being able to have all of these things that I would have never imagined having this early in life, that piece of it is a huge driver for me, and so while it wasn’t something that I planned on, within that first six months of being a freelancer, I was like, “Oh, this is it. I can’t go back now,” because even in that first six months, for instance, I took a road trip, drove all the way out to California and back from here, this is like Niagara Falls area in Canada, you can’t just tell your job, “I’m going to be gone for five weeks. See you later. I’m working from the road.” But with this job, literally can do it from anywhere, and so it’s things like that, that I really like.
My husband and I are thinking about having a family, potentially having some kids, and so even that is like, I wouldn’t have to like take a mat leave or anything like that. I really could just make it up, schedule whatever I want, so that’s a huge driver for me. I really have that choice to do whatever I want, basically, but also the choice to. Typically, right now, it’s to work because I actually like what I do and I like my job, so that’s what drives me to and what keeps me going is that choice.
Then also, now that I have a team, I do feel like I have more of a purpose. When it was just me, it felt like I was doing this for my clients, but there wasn’t a bigger mission behind it with my team, a lot of my team members are women. About half of them do have young families, and so for me, I feel like I’m actually getting to support other people, too, by giving them an opportunity. For instance, Katie on my team has a three-year-old and a three-month-old and she’s working 30 hours a week and she gets to choose that. She is the breadwinner in her family. I hope I’m not telling too many details. I probably should have asked her this first.

Josh:
You’ll ask Katie after, you’re like, “Is this cool?”

Andrea:
Yeah, email Katie: “Is this okay?” But no, for me, there’s a sense of pride in that, in being able to say I can help someone else also have a very comfortable life and to be able to support their family and for them to be able to have the flexibility to be at home, still work on interesting projects, but they don’t have to like hire a sitter and be away from their kids, working at some agency in a big city for nine hours a day or whatever the case may be.

Josh:
Yeah. No, I totally resonate with that. That’s one of the coolest things for me, it’s like just to see the flow of everything where it’s like, some people work really early in the morning, some people work at night after the kids are asleep, some people work in the middle of the day. No one cares. It’s like, send out an email with updates at 10:00 PM because that’s when you’re able to work, totally cool. It’s just like you’re still working the same amount, whatever amount of hours, just not in this ridiculous structure that… Well, that’s my opinion, ridiculous structure. Corporate is like, “Oh, we need to work these hours and you can’t leave to have a family because that will ruin our business.” It’s like, really?

Andrea:
Yeah.

Josh:
Anyways, that’s my rant on that. I was going to ask you about your dreams. If this could become anything, what would it become?

Andrea:
Yeah, so I want to help more people with this. Everything comes full circle, right? When I was younger, I was like, “I want to be a teacher.” That’s what I thought, like elementary school, middle school, high school. Then in high school, I did a student teaching for a semester for the ninth graders, so I was a senior. I did it for the freshmen. Awful. They ate me alive. I’m very introverted. I actually talk very softly and I could not… It was awful. It was just a horrible experience. I was like, “I’m never going to teach ever again because people are terrible people.”
However, now, it’s come full circle because I am teaching a lot more of my business. I’m teaching my team how to do this and then I run the Savvy Social School where I teach entrepreneurs how to do this and a subsection of that is other social media managers how to do this for their clients, so for me, I see more of that teaching side because I’m actually able to help more people, whereas right now on the agency side, we have about 20 clients and our team is, we’re pretty maxed. We just hired on another person to help, but there’s only so…
Running the agency side is just a lot of man-hours, and so for me, I would love to teach more and just show people how to do this, other people like social media managers how to build their own businesses, or just smaller businesses how to do this, so that’s where I see the five, 10-year goal. Then the 20-year goal, 30-year goal would to be one of the sharks on Shark Tank. I want to invest in people’s businesses and, you know, be like a mentor to business owners and get to work on cool projects, and yeah, do some of those things, so that’s for me, the big dream is to become maybe more of a business coach instead of just focusing on the social side.

Josh:
Hmm. All right, selfish question, because this is literally what I was pondering this morning: How do you balance pushing yourself every day with the realization that if you want to become a shark, it’s probably not going to happen for like 10 to 20 years?

Andrea:
A lot of it is just, for me, I feel like I get to play around in a lot of people’s businesses already, so I get a lot of insights: What makes businesses work? What makes them not work? All of that hustle piece, and so for me, I just feel like it just feels very far away, so for me, it’s kind of like, “That’s in the future. I’m just going to play around where I am right now.” I think that’s part of my personality type is I can’t think much past the next two years, really, other than big, hairy, scary goal. I would say a person who actually, strangely enough, inspired this is Gary V, even though he’s way more hustle than I personally like. He’s always got these big goals that he just like speaks out there, like “I’m going to own…” What does he say at the Jets or something?

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andrea:
Some football team or, yeah, and so just to have that out there floating there, that’s kind of like, for me, it’s like that’s my 20, 30-year goal. Not today. I’ll just focus on what’s in front of me. I see all of this is perfecting my craft, so in order to get there, I actually think I’ll have to own like several different businesses before that point, so this is the business that I have now. Been working on it for seven years. Who knows what the next business will be? There may be something else that pops up.
For me, right now, too, I’m saving money, so in order to be like a shark, in order to invest, be an angel investor in a business, you have to have a lot of cash, and so for me, that’s part of it, too. It’s like, okay, I’m building up this reservoir of cash because it’s very expensive to get into that space, and it’s not like you just pick one business and invest, you invest in like a hundred businesses and maybe two of them are successful kind of thing, so you have to be okay with losing a lot of money, and so that’s part of what this is, too, is I’m investing into that, both with my knowledge and getting to work with so many businesses, and then also with my dollars and saving them up and investing in smaller ways now so that I can in bigger ways in the future.

Josh:
Hmm. On the subject of money, are you a spender or a saver? How risky are you with your money?

Andrea:
I’m very risky. I’m way too risky. I think it’s part of the entrepreneur thing. I actually have become a lot better since I met my husband. He would not agree, but before I met him, I was just awful at money and all of the things. I spend. I’m a spender. I love spending money. If it sits in the bank account, it makes me feel itchy, and so for me, that has been tough, but part of it is investing helps me feel better about that, so we invest in… Here in Canada, there’s things that you can invest in, kind of like a 401k type of situation, and you can do mutual funds. There’s so many other things you can do where at least I can put it in there and then I can be like, “Okay, it’s doing something. It’s not just sitting there.”
But then also, in 2018, I made a lot of risky business decisions and actually had a dip in income and revenue. That was very scary for me and so that also whipped me into shape to be like, “No, no, no, you need backup savings in case that happens.” Because we blew through our savings like that. We ended up pulling money out of those long-term investments which you get penalized for massively when you do that, and so it was moments like that where I go, “Okay, no, I need to have cash saved in the bank because running a business is a big investment and you have to have that ready to go just in case for rainy day.”

Josh:
Yep. Yep. I resonate with that. I’m also the spender and my girlfriend is the one that reigned me in on that on the personal front, then our COO did the same thing in our business to where now things are very stable, but I just love taking risks, and so it’s the worst that you have to be careful about things like that.

Andrea:
Yeah, I bet.

Josh:
I totally resonate with your story about having a dip because the same thing happened to us in 2017 and we almost lost it and that was after been in business for three or four years, so that sucks.

Andrea:
Yeah.

Josh:
It’s enough to scare you into shape. Cool. Well, we’re coming up on our time here, but this was fascinating. I loved hearing your perspective on all of this and where things are headed and just where your mind’s at. If anybody’s listening and wants to check out what you got going on or interested in what it looks like to have a business at your stage, where can they see what you have and what you offer online?

Andrea:
Yeah, so the podcast is typically a great place to start. You can find the Savvy Social Podcast, like if you’re listening to this or watching this on YouTube, we’re everywhere where you find podcasts, that’s what I teach, my philosophy there. Then I also have a free course as well, onlinedrea.com/free, where you can sign up, learn some really good solid foundations for social media.

Josh:
Awesome. Thanks for coming on.

Andrea:
Thanks for having me.

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Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Josh is an outdoor enthusiast, is very into health/fitness, and enjoys spending time with his community in San Francisco.

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