Via All Business : Q&A With Stephanie Abrams Cartin of Socialfy
Stephanie Abrams Cartin, CEO/Co-Founder, Socialfly
Young entrepreneur Stephanie Abrams Cartin is CEO and co-founder of Socialfly, a full-service social media marketing and influencer agency specializing in social public relations.
Name: Stephanie Abrams Cartin
Years in business: 4+
Business location: New York City
Number of employees: 15
Chief product: Social media strategy and execution
First of all, how is business these days?
Business is great! We recently celebrated our fourth birthday in May and are growing year after year. We are currently working with some incredible clients, including Huntington Learning Center, Premio Foods, CanadaMark Diamonds, and Modell’s Sporting Goods!
What led you to start your own business?
Social media has always been a big part of my life. When I was attending Cornell and Facebook first launched, I knew social media was going to change the future of marketing. At first, I was advising my friends on how to use social media for their businesses along with working my full-time job. I quickly realized it was not an after-work activity, it was a real business.
Courtney Spritzer and I partnered up, and continued working on the side for 10 months. We started achieving incredible results for our clients, and once we realized the potential, Courtney and I quit our corporate jobs on the same day and launched Socialfly.
What sources did you use for startup capital?
Signing clients! We had been working with clients on the side of our corporate jobs for 10 months. The revenue we were generating was enough to continue our day-to-day lives and start Socialfly.
What do you think is your biggest business strength?
We are a very strategic agency and have a core focus on social media. We provide strategic social media solutions to our partners by pairing creative content and analytics that deliver measurable results. We are also a team of Millennials who live and breathe social media, and when we work with our clients, we truly become an extension of their team.
What do you enjoy most about owning your own business?
As a business owner, I am constantly learning and evolving. I enjoy watching other businesses grow as a result of the work we have done for them. I also love the culture we have worked extremely hard to create at Socialfly, as well as mentoring and fostering the growth of our employees. Most of all, I enjoy that my destiny is in my hands.
What’s your least favorite part of running a business?
I wouldn’t say I have a least favorite part, however, something that can be challenging is that there is no off-switch. If you work a typical 9-to-5 job, you are able to leave work at work and go home and relax. When you are a business owner, the lines between personal life and professional life blur. It is very difficult to take breaks and not think about work.
What do you think are important entrepreneurial skills to have?
Flexibility. It is important to be able to see when things aren’t working and change your course. In a world that is constantly changing, it is vital to not be headstrong and set in your ways. It’s also important to be self-aware. Be someone who can ask for help. It is important to realize what you don’t know and partner with people who have complementary skill sets.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in business and how did you overcome them?
We ran into our first roadblock early into starting our business. We had received a cease and desist letter from a company with a similar name. Our lawyers assured us we could fight it, but it would be costly. Instead of investing time and money into lawsuits, we decided to change our name to Socialfly and have been flourishing ever since. There is always an opportunity to turn a bad situation around! It’s all in your perspective.
What do you wish you’d known before you started out?
No one knows exactly how to start a business for the first time. You learn over time. Some helpful tactics we wish we would have known in our initial stages is time tracking and goal setting. Monitor your time wisely because it will fly by. Also keep track and set goals for everything. It will feel infinitely better crossing out goals once they’re completed (even the small ones).
What is the smartest move you have made with your business so far?
Our smartest move has been investing time and resources in our own marketing the same way we advise our clients to do. If you Google “Social Media Agency” or “Social Media Agency NYC,” we are number one on Google. This is from all of the effort we have placed on executing our own social media marketing strategy. We practice what we preach, which is what clients should be looking for in an agency they decide to work with. We receive a tremendous amount of inbound leads each day from companies finding us through Google, which has helped our business flourish.
How do you find new customers? What do you do to make sure they become return customers?
Most of our clients find us! As I just mentioned, through our strategic social media marketing and SEO strategy, we are on the first page of Google for “social media agency.” We were able to accomplish this by focusing on our own social media strategy. We also receive a high number of referrals from our current clients. Our work speaks for itself so people are constantly sharing the great work we do with other business owners and CMOs.
What’s your management style with employees?
I would consider myself a coach of our employees. I encourage my employees to focus on developing their strengths.
What are some other companies or entrepreneurs you admire, and why?
Ivanka Trump is an inspiration to working women. She not only advocates for women in business, but she leads by example. She is an inspiring leader and someone I admire.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
I have many!
“I am thankful for my struggle, because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength.”
“Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.”
What new initiatives are you working on?
We just launched our new Facebook Live show called SocialLIVE. It airs every Wednesday at 2:30 EST on our Facebook page. We cover each week’s trending topics live from the Socialfly office. We are also about to launch a new website and branding!
What advice would you give to someone hoping to start a business similar to yours?
Find a business partner with an opposite skill set.
Only start a business if you can dedicate your life to living and breathing the business.
Find a mentor who has started a similar business to give you advice. Learn from other people’s mistakes so you can avoid making at least some of them.