Interview with Maria Bryan – Enter the World of Nonprofit Marketing – Episode #54

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“People are more emotionally attached to people than they are to entities…when nonprofit leaders share their stories, it humanizes the nonprofit’s brand.”

Maria Bryan helps founders create thriving nonprofits by marketing on purpose. She provides practical strategies and empathetic coaching to nonprofits ready to amplify their mission and their message. Maria is a firm believer that storytellers make the world a healthier, safer, cleaner, and happier place.

 

Maria gave a lot of great answers to questions like:

1️⃣ How would you describe your role as a Nonprofit Marketing Strategist?

2️⃣ What are some of the unique marketing challenges nonprofit orgs face that other businesses don’t?

3️⃣ What makes up a good story?

4️⃣ Why should nonprofit leaders tell their own stories on social media?

5️⃣ If a marketer wanted to volunteer their time for a nonprofit, where should they search?

And more…

 

Full Episode Transcript:

Kenny Soto  0:00  

All right. We are now recording and 5432. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the people of digital marketing with your host, Kenny Soto. Today’s guest is Maria O’Brien. Hi, Maria, how are you?

 

Maria Bryan  0:16  

Hi, I’m great. How are you?

 

Kenny Soto  0:17  

I’m doing really well, especially because you are on the podcast today. And you are the first marketer that works in the nonprofit space. So I like to ask this question to all my guests so that they can get more context to the listeners about who they are as professionals. My first question for you is what got you into digital marketing? And subsequently, what got you into marketing nonprofits?

 

Maria Bryan  0:50  

Yeah. I have a pretty interesting journey. But I find that it’s pretty common for those that end up in nonprofit marketing. I started my career with a deep love for storytelling, but also for service. So the first thing I did well, I studied journalism in college, because I knew that I wanted to tell stories. I when I was in college, I mean, I was studying print journalism, I mean, digital marketing was not a thing.

 

 I mean, this was like MySpace was in like companies weren’t on in nonprofits didn’t have really any kind of a social media presence. At that point, people just had their personal social media and Facebook was just starting, really MySpace and blogging at the time was really popular anyway. So I studied print journalism, and then joined the Peace Corps. So I served in Ghana for a couple of years, as a health educator. 

 

And not only did I want to go on, on an adventure, but I wanted to, you know, I have the opportunity to tell really amazing stories, and hopefully, to kickstart my journalism career. But the problem was, once I was, you know, in the fields, and doing this really incredible and meaningful work, I really had this problem where I didn’t know if I wanted to tell stories, or have a more active role in public health issues. 

 

And I find that a lot of people in their 20s have, you know, they have their skill sets, but then they have a passion, maybe elsewhere, and it’s really hard to reconcile the two. So I came home, and two things happened. One, it was like an economic collapse. I mean, I came home in 2010, during a huge recession, to digital marketing exploded the two years that I was living in, like a mud hut in Ghana, suddenly, everyone had iPhones. 

 

I mean, like, I couldn’t believe that you could, besides ordering Chinese food on the phone that you could like, by calling on the phone that you could, you know, use your cell phone to do so many things. Suddenly, companies had a social media presence and nonprofits had a social media presence, and it was absolutely over whelming to me, I really struggled with what I wanted to do next, I thought maybe I should get a master’s in journalism because, you know, print like what’s print now, like print journalism was dying. I was dying at that point. 

 

So I ended up on the way of figuring it out getting a job in communications at a community health center. And very quickly, I found my home and nonprofit marketing because I realized that I could reconcile my love for writing and my passion for public service by being within the marketing communications arm of a nonprofit. So that is really when I kick started my nonprofit marketing journey. 

 

This organization I worked for, which was in Chinatown, New York City, didn’t have two email addresses trapped together. They had no social media. Their website was literally scary. It was a bunch of just faces of people was like a collage of faces.

 

It wasn’t a very sophisticated website. And so although I didn’t have much experience in digital marketing, a lot Have people in nonprofit marketing communications, especially early in the career in their career, and especially at that time, when so few people knew about digital marketing, my boss was like, figure it out, just figure out how to bring us into the 21st century. So that’s what I did. 

 

Over the course of five years, I developed a digital marketing program for this huge community bilingual community health center that is now a thriving digital marketing presence, just building a blog for them and an email marketing strategy and social media strategy. And so that’s where I found myself in, specifically in digital marketing was just needing to learn it out of a need. 

 

Because I knew so little about it, I just kind of became obsessed with all the resources that were out there. And I wish that I had access to a podcast like this podcast didn’t really exist then. But webinars will were still really popular. They were just starting to be popular. So I went to every, you know, webinar, I can get my hands on every conference, I could go to Googled as much as I could, and in did that over the course of 10 years until I became kind of an an expert in it. So that’s how I got my start in nonprofit marketing,

 

Kenny Soto  6:27  

how would you describe your current job?

 

Maria Bryan  6:30  

So I did nonprofit communications and marketing. Or I would say I was in the public sector, if you could Peace Corps because of course, I did end up doing quite a bit of communications work, like I ended up being on like the Communications Committee for Peace Corps. So I really was doing that before I even knew that I was got my Master’s in Public Administration. 

 

After 10 years of working in house and nonprofits, I decided to start my own consultancy. Really, for me, I loved the work, I hated my job, I really didn’t like the nine to five, grind. I was lucky living in New York City at the time and didn’t love the commute. didn’t love how much time I was away from home, which is interesting, because now during COVID, a lot of people are working from home and it’s becoming more normalized. 

 

And I think people are like, Oh, maybe we don’t need to be commuting two, three hours a day, you know, to work, maybe there’s a different way to do this. And I very early on felt like that was a big waste of my day and just wanted to be home. When I had my daughter, I just had this crystal clarity that I needed to get out of the nine to five and have more autonomy and flexibility. 

 

So I started Maria Bryan creative where I decided I would do the things I did best and my favorite parts of being a, you know, a nonprofit marketer and communicator for other nonprofits. So I’ve had Maria brain creative for about three years now. And after offering a ton of services. Right now I focus on just a few things. One is helping small nonprofits, very small nonprofits to have a clear and focused marketing strategy, that it’s not looking five years out, or 10 years out, it’s really looking three months to a year ahead on what they can do, how they can use the Internet and other strategies to reach their goals. And also, I am a trainer and teacher. 

 

So I train nonprofit marketers on the fundamental areas of nonprofit marketing so that they can thrive in their career, which is kind of full circle, because those are the kinds of resources that enabled me to be an expert in this field. And I love teaching.

 

Kenny Soto  9:24  

On the same vein of teaching nonprofit marketers, what are some of the unique challenges nonprofit organizations face? The other kinds of businesses do not

 

Maria Bryan  9:37  

I think that you know, there’s something bubbling in the nonprofit sector, where the word nonprofit itself is problematic. Where these organizations feel like all the money that comes in should be through fundraising and should be funneled directly into services. And because of that they might not have sustainable finances to cover appropriate salaries for staff.

 

 And basic functions like having, you know, marketing marketing isn’t just a person that is running social media, email, and blog, there is software, and tools and resources that all cost money in order to effectively be a marketer. And you know, even just investing in your skill sets is something that a successful marketer needs to do and shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket, really, an employer should be supporting a marketer earlier in the career to thrive. 

 

And I’m just so grateful that I had a boss that did that for me when I was in my 20s. So I would just say, mindset of executive leadership and nonprofits is a challenge for marketers, because they ended up getting too much on their plate. Because their marketing, they’re expected to sometimes also do fundraising, and communications. And these are all three are very different, they help each other but they’re very different. And it’s easy to become overwhelmed. in a, in a marketing team and a for profit business. 

 

Typically, you will have much fewer functions unless you’re working maybe at a small business and small businesses can sometimes reflect nonprofits. You know, maybe you’re just working on content development, or you’re just working on SEO, or you’re just working on paid or you’re just working on, you know, just one element of, of digital marketing, not all of it right. 

 

So you’ll have a team and, and every member of the team specializes in a different part of, of marketing, and I find a big challenge in nonprofit marketing is you’re expected to, to do it all. And to know it all, which is really a recipe for burnout. That’s a recipe for impostor syndrome. And of, of just feeling like a failure, and that you don’t belong in this space. If you don’t have, you know, it’s being expected to have everything from the technical skills of paid advertising, and SEO when well, web development to graphic design experience, to creative writing experience to even like the psychology needed to do effective marketing, it’s too much for for one person to be expected to do.

 

Kenny Soto  12:50  

Let’s paint the scenario in which you are helping a nonprofit marketer propose to their leadership team, hey, we need more staff. Or we need more staff and more software to enable us to do our job better. How would you help them draft that proposal? What are some things that they should be thinking about? When they want to bring that conversation up to their leadership team?

 

Maria Bryan  13:22  

The first thing that you need to do is track your wins. You know, focus on something when and I’m not just talking about how many people are following me on Facebook, but maybe like, how many how many people on social media converted into buyers or donors how many people in you know, email, you know, we’re became further along and the buyer journey or donor journey. 

 

Maybe you wrote an incredible blog posts that ended up being picked up in the press, which is like really good for authority building for your organization. Or maybe you had, you know, signups for people to come to an event and there was a slew of signups after you posted on social media or email or whatever platform was okay. So you track those wins, and you show what is possible with effective digital marketing. And then you need to look for case studies for similar organizations that have a more robust marketing program. 

 

So maybe they have a budget for paid, they have more staff. And it’s these case studies you’ll be able to find because so many people use case studies. To prove a point. For a lot of times when you’re going you know, reading a blog post or doing some kind of training you will find these kinds of case studies. So maybe another are similar organization had an incredible successful launch or incredible fundraising campaign, if you’re in nonprofit, show your wins, and then show what is possible, if you could really step it up with more staff, and more tools, and resources. 

 

So when you’re not only showing what could be for another organization, it’s easier for leadership to say, well, that’s them, not us, it’s a different story. But when you kind of tease it with wins that you already have in your organization, they are going to be able to connect the dots between the reality of wins that you already have, and like how much more successful your organization could be. 

 

And I think the key here, Kenny, is to deeply understand your organization’s goals, it’s really easy when you’re at a junior level, to have your own silo goals for your department. Maybe that is, you know, you want to and a lot of times, it’s just to grow following on platforms and email, subscriber list and traffic to your website. But if you have an understanding that your executive leadership, your president, your CEO, whatever it may be, their goal for the year is to, you know, increase income, or to build a more sophisticated brand, or to build authority to be well known if you know what the higher level goals are. 

 

And you can prove that marketing will support those goals, that is going to speak to them, maybe they don’t care how many followers on social media. But if you can make a case for social media supporting these larger goals, like bringing in more income, or even maybe growing your team, how social media can help bring in more qualified staff, whatever it may be. 

 

So a combination of knowing the higher level executive goals, being able to show your current wins. And being able to show a similar organization who has had far more success with more resources is going to really help for you to to make the case. And I I also think you need to be honest with your supervisor, if you are feeling like you are unable to do the work before you it’s really scary to tell your boss that there’s too much on your plate, because it feels like you’re not, you’re not qualified, you’re not doing your job well. 

 

But if you could save, you know, be able to explain to your supervisor or boss that you are skilled, and you would be able to do so much more if you had the resources and the bandwidth. That takes a little more courage to have these kind of honest conversations. But I find just kind of listing out all of it’s on your plate and just showing your supervisor like this is all that’s on my plate. And it’s too much. And I’m not going to be successful in these areas. If I have this much. Those kinds of consistent check ins will also help you build a case for more support.

 

Kenny Soto  18:23  

Before asking this question, I definitely just want to highlight one of the many pieces of advice that you just gave, which is that that point you made about bringing up case studies? I think that doesn’t only just apply for nonprofit businesses, but also for all teams, especially all marketing teams in general. Because sometimes, we may need that extra evidence to back up an idea we might have, especially if it’s a new experiment that we’re proposing. And we don’t have prior data to support whether or not we should launch that experiment, if you will.

 

Maria Bryan  19:00  

Absolutely. You know, you want to take risks and do interesting and daring things. And everyone should do that in marketing, but it’s always great to show how another organization was or company was successful doing the same thing.

 

Kenny Soto  19:12  

Definitely. Maria, my next question is what makes for a good story?

 

Maria Bryan  19:18  

Well, the basics of a story, which people forget, are that a story has a beginning, middle and an end and a character who is changed along the way. It’s basic that people forget that when you have a character that has gone through a journey and is facing a challenge and overcomes that challenge and comes out a different person. you root for that person you become invested in their story. 

 

So if you are if you’re talking about a customer or potential client or anything like that, you can even in the smallest of communications if you’re if you do it really Well have the beginning, middle and an end and the character who is changed. By the end, I also find that a good story marketing wise, you need to deeply understand your customers pain points, because when people see themselves in a story, they’re going to feel more attached and involved, which might be maybe one of the oldest marketing tricks. 

 

But I think that we, we forget that we forget that this is something that helped us help our family and you want to tell the story of of how it’s improved view or why you think it’s a good idea instead of stepping outside of yourself. And really, really understanding the psychology of what your most ideal customer, what their challenges and how you will come in and and solve that problem. 

 

And doing that in a way that’s that’s telling, you know, a powerful story. So I think, at the most basic, make sure that you’re doing those two things. And I think, in 2021, we need to make sure that our storytelling is ethical, and inclusive and accessible. So make sure that when you are creating stories that you are using language and choosing characters and imagery and video that reflects the reality of your community. 

 

And the people that you serve, whether they are buying or you are a nonprofit in their area, when people see people who look like them reflected and marketing, again, they are going to feel like this is something that is for them, and it will speak to them. So we’re seeing that more and more in media that how life changing it is for people when they see themselves in in storytelling. So make sure that being inclusive and accessible is on your checklist. When you are making stories in all of your marketing initiatives.

 

Kenny Soto  22:31  

I would definitely add that anyone who’s trying to figure out of a strategy of free strategy to use to find their customers pain points, is check on Twitter. And if you use Twitter’s advanced search tool, you can find based on keyword research, you would have to figure out like what are some assumed pain points, but you can find what people are actually complaining about on Twitter, for example, yeah, for this first startup that I’m working for, I have to figure out what are people complaining about when it comes to their checking account and their investing account. 

 

So I went on Twitter, and I searched up, I hate my quote unquote, bank account, I hate my quote unquote, checking account investing account, or I put my blank account sucks. And then those search queries and Twitter Advanced Search. And now I have them saved so that whenever I open that tab on Google Chrome, I’m seeing in real time, what my prospects are complaining about capturing those pain points into an excel sheet, and then working with my team to figure out how do we put this in our social media copy? How do we put this in our blog posts? How do we put this in our videos, etc, etc, etc. So if you the listener are thinking of a free solution that you can use to start discovering, or adding to the list of pain points that you already have, definitely use Twitter advanced search,

 

Maria Bryan  24:03  

Kenny, that is such a great tactic, because echoing others language, like their actual language is really effective. And then yeah, I mean, what better platform to to follow to find gripe, you know, to find pain points and challenges. Yeah, that’s I love that.

 

Kenny Soto  24:31  

Now, I would like to dive into storytelling specifically when it comes to nonprofit leaders. Why should nonprofit leaders tell their own personal stories on social media?

 

Maria Bryan  24:43  

That’s a really really great question. No matter how big or old your organization as there is a founder story, or there is a person who should be the face of the club 70, which is probably the executive leadership, and we’ve, over the years, there has been an increasing distrust in corporate entities, right? People are more likely to trust people. And people are more emotionally attached to people than they are to entities. 

 

So when nonprofit founders show up, and they’re vulnerable, and they tell their story, it humanizes your nonprofits brand. And people are far more likely to act on those asks when they feel connected to a person, as opposed to a logo. So, you know, again, people make purchases and donations, out of emotion, they’re emotionally driven. 

 

And people do this for people that they know like, and trust, right? This is like the trifecta for marketing that you do purchase things or donate to those that you know, like, and trust, especially for those in consulting, right. So if if you’re asking someone to donate to your organization, you build that know, like, and trust by humanizing your brand. 

 

So I think that starts with the founder, but there is room to humanize your brand, especially a nonprofit by highlighting all of your staff and your volunteers, and if it’s ethical, and appropriate, to highlight the people you serve. So if you’re at a food bank, I don’t think it would be appropriate to go around, you know, highlighting those people. 

 

But maybe you’re at work in an after school program and being able to highlight, or maybe you, you know, rent a soccer program, or a program for new moms. There are some areas and industries and nonprofit, when, of course, what’s the best one when you’re working with animals, right, like zoos, or pet rescue. I mean, these are great opportunities to humanize your brand by highlighting the people, or the animals that you serve.

 

Kenny Soto  27:33  

If a marketer who currently works outside of the nonprofit sector, wanted to make the shift in their career to start volunteering at least part time for nonprofit, how should they pitch themselves and where should they search?

 

Maria Bryan  27:54  

Well, that’s a tricky question, Kenny. Because this goes back to this problem that I talked about before, where nonprofits are perceived as organizations that don’t generate a profit, and so therefore can’t afford to pay their staff. So if you volunteer for a nonprofit, you use your skills to support a nonprofit, you are setting a precedent for that organization that they should be able to get these kinds of skill sets for their organization for free, or for very little pay. 

 

So what I encourage you to do, is to either volunteer as a mentor for marketing, junior staff at a nonprofit, or make that transition into working for nonprofit nonprofits love bringing people in from the corporate world because they perceive that they have more skills, and sometimes they do because they have more resources in their corporate job, to really build their expertise and specialize. So I would not volunteer your expertise at a nonprofit, it’s not good for the sector. What I would do is maybe provide again, mentorship or free trainings to help support nonprofit marketing. But that’s a great

 

Kenny Soto  29:30  

question can get their answers definitely being clipped and reshard because I wasn’t expecting that answer. And it does highlight that sometimes you do do your client a disservice if you don’t charge them

 

Maria Bryan  29:44  

100% We know that for those of you who are venturing into consulting, when you do free work, then agencies are going to expect that this is a huge problem. I live in a college town I live in Tallahassee, Florida and But there’s this kind of like secret in the agency world, that many of the agencies are run by free internship labor. 

 

So you have the, you know, the main owners or staff that are making lots of money because they’re charging 10s of 1000s of dollars for their services. But then these college interns are doing all the work for free. Because their, quote unquote, interns are trying to build their portfolio. It’s a really, really bad way to run, marketing, you know, people should, should, should be paid for the work that they do. 

 

And so being patient and waiting until you can find the right company or agency that’s going to pay you appropriately for what you do. And this is huge lessons that I learned in my 20s, I cannot tell you the amount of work that I did for free and didn’t think anything of it, because I didn’t really have any bills to pay. You know, some of the time I was living at home, I just didn’t think anything of working for free. 

 

But then, you know, when I transitioned into consulting, I see how incredibly damaging it is in the nonprofit world. And even in the for profit sector, when when young adults are giving out their services for free. So at this point, it’s illegal to not pay interns. I think even if you’re getting school credit, you shouldn’t be given at least a small stipend to do the work that you do.

 

Kenny Soto  31:45  

Three more questions. Why did you create the digital marketing highs.

 

Maria Bryan  31:52  

The digital marketing hive is a Facebook group that I run with my partner in good Mary Anderson, who is a brand strategist. So she’s more on the brand design side. And I’m more on the storytelling marketing strategy side. And this is a space for marketers at all levels to come and encourage one another and learn from one another. So a big part of our ethos is celebrating wins, right. 

 

And this is something that I talked about earlier, something that you need to be tracking your wins and the work that you do. So we set our intentions on Mondays, but what we want for the week, and then we celebrate the winds every Friday, and two to three times a month, Mary and I host marketing sessions, everything from technical skills to mindset. 

 

So last month, we did mindset sorry, talked about marketing, impostor syndrome, we had a competence coach, come on and talk about confidence. early in your career, Mary did a really great meditation and journaling exercise, which is so important when you’re an overwhelmed marketer. And again, we do things from like, how to craft a mission statement to the importance of email marketing. 

 

So what we do is we ask, we ask people in the hive, what they want to learn about, and then we create free sessions on that we bring on all kinds of guests to talk about their genius zone. And then sometimes we also do networking events, which is really fun. You know, these are on Zoom for people to just meet other marketers. One of my favorite parts of the hive is when people bring their projects into the hive and just ask for feedback. 

 

It’s just a safe space to get feedback from people of you know, all marketing levels. We have people that own marketing software, so they’re very advanced in marketing, and then people who are just starting out. So it’s a really, really fun encouraging space for marketers.

 

Kenny Soto  34:08  

Sounds amazing. And you mentioned technical skills and mindset, which is perfect segue into the next question, what are some core skills either hard or soft, that you have leveraged throughout your entire career?

 

Maria Bryan  34:26  

So, you know, like I said, I started my career with a degree in journalism. And so I was a creative writer. And being creative is one of those skills that’s really hard to learn. So if you are a creative person, you likely are drawn to marketing anyway. 

 

So this is a really important skill that is foundational to being in marketing. Once you’re in marketing, you’ll have to pick up probably some other skills that use the other side of your brain and that’s okay. So, being analytical, and a critical thinker is really important. So you alluded to this, like you need evidence to back up the strategies that you’re using, you need to not only see what the outside, you know, benchmarks are for the campaigns that you’re doing. 

 

But you need to understand your own analytics, to know what succeeding and what is not succeeding. So if you don’t really know how to interpret Analytics, you know, Google Analytics, or the analytics of your social media, or blog, you’re not going to really level up your marketing, you really need data to know what the next move is when to expand on a project and when to maybe like, scale back a little bit on a project. 

 

Another important skill, which can be learned for marketers is leadership. In order to market well, you need especially nonprofit marketing, you need feedback from so many different departments and arms of an organization, you need program staff, to tell you what’s going on on the ground, you need that support of executive staff, like I said before, to know what the broader goals are of the organization, you need support from human resources to help with internal, you know, communications, if you’re working in communications, so being able to show up and be a presence and all of these different departments is leadership, you know, these are leadership skills that you need. 

 

I think another part of being a good leader is knowing when something is needed in your company or organization, even if you don’t have the skill set for it. So, you know, there are such a range of skills that any marketer might need, you know, technical skills, you know, once you’re in consulting, you see that people don’t tend to, like, do a whole ad campaign themselves, you have one person that writes the copy, you have one person that designs the assets, and then you have a completely different person that is actually running the campaign that is doing, you know, it is so technical to run an ad campaign, you know, choosing the audiences, you know, look alike audiences and you know, all that goes into tracking and running a sex successful campaign. 

 

There’s people that specialize in that. So to maybe not have the super subset skills needed to do the range of marketing, just knowing like, hey, maybe we need to bring in a PR person, maybe we need to bring in an event coordinator, maybe we need to hire someone to do SEO, if that is a priority, knowing the need is greater it Trump’s having those specific skill sets. 

 

And that’s a big lesson I learned in my early 30s, is that when I really lacked PR skills, I didn’t really develop relationships with media in a way that I found I found many New York nonprofits like wanted from a communications manager. Because Media Relations is such a huge part of nonprofit communications and my skills were in digital marketing.

 

 I had a lot of skills in digital, I mean, I could like do basic website updates, and run just about any social media platform. And I had a strategic mindset when it came to digital marketing. PR is completely different. I mean, that’s a completely different skill set. And I was very, very intimidated by the interview process because I didn’t have those PR skills until I found my last job before I started my consultancy where I had told them that I think a PR strategy would help them for for their goals. But I didn’t have the PR experience. 

 

And she told me just my insight alone, knowing that PR was needed was exactly the kind of mindset that she wanted in a nonprofit communications manager and that they would be hiring a PR firm and it’s okay that I didn’t have that portfolio. So kind of just to sum up, being creative is something that is foundational in marketing and the analytics are something that are really important that can be learned and the leadership to work with, you know, and to be a program man Enter into work with so many different kinds of people and skill sets. And knowing when to delegate is a leadership trait that is crucial and absolutely can be learned and developed over time.

 

Kenny Soto  40:13  

Last question is hypothetical. If you’ve had access to Time Machine and can go back 10 years instead of past, knowing everything you know, right now, how would you get to where you are today? Only faster?

 

Maria Bryan  40:32  

What year is it today 20. That’d be like 2011. I would, I wish I went on Twitter earlier. Although like, I feel pretty good about my Twitter presence right now.

 

I probably would not have gotten my master’s. I feel like in marketing, well, I so working in public health, academia is so important, you really need your master’s degree to I think just a nonprofit in general, it’s really kind of, to me, it feels a little upside down. 

 

Because you need a secondary degree, you need a master’s degree to really get any job above a junior position and nonprofit, but then the pay is never going to be very good until you’re like an executive leadership, then the pay is starts, you know, evening out. So it was just kind of expected to get a master’s degree. Now that in my I’m consulting, I don’t think I needed to have a master’s degree. 

 

So I think my overall advice would to be just to trust the journey. Trust that. That and I’m not even gonna say doors would open but that I opened doors myself that I made opportunities, I would tell myself to trust my gut, I trusted my gut, much of the time, that sometimes I didn’t, sometimes I stayed at jobs longer or in positions longer than I should have. But I will say this.

 

 If you feel like you need a certain number of years, before starting your own consulting, if you want to go into freelance and any marketer could do what they’re doing on their own, they can do it. Freelance sounds like they’re not business owners, but all freelancers are business owners. If you feel like you need a certain number of years in house, in order to be a consultant, I’m telling you, the earlier you start your own business, the quicker you will be making more money within your business, it is a time game. 

 

It’s just the skill sets will come the longer you’re in business, it’s so much more than your skill sets. It’s your brand. It’s the network you’ve have. It’s the building trust takes so long. So I would say the first, you know, three to five years doesn’t matter. If you have 20 years and house behind you. It’s going to be difficult bringing in money. But then I know people that started their own businesses right out of undergrad and are thriving, even though we have the same level of skill sets. 

 

So if you are just feeling a little bit like you want to do your own thing, trust yourself, do it, the sooner that you do your own thing, the sooner that you’re going to make money and research and study shows that having your own business, you will bring in income much quicker than working for somebody else. So you can scale from making 25k a year to 100k a year in your own business much quicker than starting out an entry level job making 50k and then going up to 100k it’s going to take a lot longer for you. 

 

So I had no interest in starting my own business until I had my daughter Mia so that I don’t know how that advice would have landed with me because it wasn’t even on my radar. Like, I had my baby and quit my job within months and started my own other just just like I don’t even know what got into me. That’s the best decision that I ever made. But I’m glad that I did that. I’m glad that I didn’t wait until I had until a different time until I had more money until I had more skills that I kind of jumped into the deep end with that.

 

Kenny Soto  44:43  

There you have it if you are considering becoming a freelancer or consultant. I hope that’s the motivation that drives you to making that decision. Maria, thank you for your time today if anyone wants to say hello, where can they find you online?

 

Maria Bryan  44:58  

So you You can find me at Maria Bryan CR TV, on Instagram and Twitter, on Facebook, the digital marketing hive. So you could probably find it easiest because of course there’s like a few digital marketing hives. 

 

But if you find me on Facebook just looking for Maria Bryan creative, you’ll see very quickly my Facebook group and of course you can go to my website, Maria brian.com. To learn more about me there I would love to be connected with you all and especially for you to join the hive. It’s a really special place for marketers.

 

Kenny Soto  45:41  

You definitely got at least one new member which is myself. So I really appreciate that you have created something so cool. And I’m definitely looking forward to participating in the community.

 

Maria Bryan  45:52  

Awesome. Kenny, thank you so much for having me on. This has been really fun, of

 

Kenny Soto  45:56  

course. And thank you to you the listener for listening to another episode of the people of digital marketing with your host Kenny Soto. And as always, I hope you have a great week. Bye.

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