Casey Hines | @caseyagogo Social Media Delivered CEO and LinkedIn influencer Eve Mayer Orsburn speaks about her experiences building a social media agency from the ground up to the online women's business magazine The Next Women. You can read the full interview here.
Eve Mayer Orsburn, LinkedIn Queen: The Pie Related Injury & The Icelandic Prime Minister!
TNW: What makes your company different from your competitors?
Social Media Delivered is different from our competitors because we aren't as cool as them. No, really, that is what I mean.
We aren't just focused on the "cool" factor of an app or the big numbers on a Facebook page, we are focused on the nerdy business result.
TNW: When you built your team, what are the key qualities you looked for to ensure the success of your business?
EMO: When I built my team, I looked for people who had the strengths I lacked. I looked for people who were brilliant, driven, talented and a joy to be with.
TNW: Who were your first customers and how hard was it to attract them?
EMO: It was not too hard to attract our first customers because I already had relationships with them, and they knew and trusted me. At first I provided complimentary services so that I could gather testimonials, then I started charging tiny amounts for services. As I became more sure of myself and began hiring staff, I started charging more. Our first real customers were individuals and small companies in Dallas, Texas.
TNW: Who are your customers and partners now?
EMO: Our customers and partners now are mid-sized to Fortune 500 companies in the US, Canada and Europe.
TNW: What is next for your company?
EMO: We would like to serve more clients in Europe. We hope to provide effective social media strategies especially on LinkedIn to companies who focus on B2B, and on Twitter for B2C businesses.
TNW: What are the advantages of gender diversity in a startup? Are there any disadvantages?
EMO: We probably are not the best example of that given we are a Woman Owned Certified Business and HUB Certified and that most of our employees are women. This was not something we set out to do deliberately; it just happened. Lately, we've been bringing on more male interns and employees so as to round out the mix.
We also value diversity of ages, races, and personality types. Our employees range in age from 20 to 72, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, speak in many tongues and boast diverse backgrounds.
TNW: What lessons have you taken from your successes &/or failures?
EMO: I’ve had lots of success and lots of failures, and I anticipate many more of both. The reality of life and of business is that it’s a rollercoaster. Hang on tight, enjoy the ride, celebrate the good stuff, and try to forget the bad times as quickly as possible.
TNW: Do you have any tips or any advice for women who are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs?
EMO: Yes. Have guts, be fearless. Less than 6% of venture capital goes to women-owned business. Women need to ask for what they want in business and in life.
Look into becoming certified through WBENC. We are a certified women-owned business through the WBCS branch, and the relationships we have cultivated there have been instrumental in growing our business.
TNW: Do you have any role models or mentors?
When I went to look for a mentor, I went to look for someone who had everything I wanted: a happy marriage, a family, and a career she loved. The wisdom and lessons I have learned from her are priceless.
My other mentors are my parents, Guy & Gina Mayer. Through hard work even when they were broke, they taught me how important it was to always keep a sense of humor.
TNW: Is there a moment in the history of your company which you remember as the highlight so far?
EMO: Yes. It was the company Pie Fight of 2011 where I got a black eye from one of my employees. I had never had a black eye before, and strangely enough, I felt really cool.
Just 2 weeks later, I had the honor of speaking to the president of Iceland and having to explain the black eye to him.
TNW: Do you have plans to expand internationally? Which countries and when?
EMO: We already have an international presence in Paris, France, with clients in Europe, as well frequent speaking engagements at international conferences and events. One of our main focuses this year is expanding further into Europe; specifically the UK, Ireland, Italy and France.
TNW: What is one leadership lesson you learned the hard way, but wish someone had told you at the beginning?
EMO: Even though I sometimes want to change certain things about myself and I do try, I just can’t change the core of who I am.
I am sometimes too trusting, and I have been burned as a result. But, in many cases I usually end up being pleasantly surprised.
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