Women in the Arena

Defying Expectations and Creating Success with Audrey Buchanan

June 07, 2023 Audra Agen Season 5 Episode 23
Women in the Arena
Defying Expectations and Creating Success with Audrey Buchanan
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if you could transform your passion for social media into a thriving business at just 24 years old? In today's episode, we talk to the incredible Audrey Buchanan, who did exactly that. Audrey shares her journey of taking a leap of faith, quitting her job, and starting her own social media marketing business at a young age. She breaks down barriers and shares valuable insights into how believing in yourself and not letting preconceived expectations limit your potential can lead to success.

Audrey's expertise in social media marketing has turned struggling businesses into flourishing ventures. We discuss her work with a towing company client, whose Instagram followers skyrocketed from 1,000 to 10,000 in just 12 months, and whose YouTube channel now boasts an impressive 25,000 subscribers. Audrey emphasizes the importance of partnering with clients and focusing on their needs, showcasing the power of social media marketing in transforming a business.

Join us as Audrey Buchanan inspires us to take risks, push through tough moments, and find passion and fulfillment in our work. Driven to succeed, she made sacrifices and worked hard to reach her goals, and encourages us all to find what we were born with and put it back into action. For anyone looking for advice, a pep talk, or to learn more about Audrey's services, don't miss this awe-inspiring episode.


Go check out all of our episodes on our website: https://womeninthearena.net/

If you are ready to tell your story or want to refer someone, please email me at audra@womeninthearena.net

***Last thing- I'd love to interview the following women:

  • Joan Jett
  • Dolly Parton
  • Viola Davis
  • Ina Garten

Maybe you can help me get there****

Thank you all for supporting this show and all of the Women in the Arena!!

Audra: Before we get started, i'd like to take a moment to thank the sponsor of today's show, dr Michelle Sands. Dr Sands is the creator of Glow Natural Wellness and Fixed Hormones, and she has a healthy hormone club that offers monthly bioidentical hormone replacement therapy delivered to your home. What sets her apart from other programs is she provides access to physicians for you to ask questions and get support. She also provides routine testing to monitor and adjust your hormones as needed. In addition, she has a free hormone class to help you understand more about your hormones. You can sign up for this class at freehormoneclasscom. Forward slash arena. Thank you again, dr Michelle Sands, for your support. Welcome in everyone and thank you so much for being with me again this week.

Audra: This week, i'm with an amazing, young, successful entrepreneur. I'm joined today by Audrey Buchanan, and she is one of those elusive individuals that those of my age are still trying to understand, which is, those that know how to master this social media marketing thing. If you've been listening to me for a while, you know that this still confounds me, but she has this mastery of it that she's been able to build businesses and brands amongst small businesses, larger businesses, and do it with her own site and her own integrity. She started to do this at 24. That's right. She stepped out on her own and started her own business at 24. We're going to talk about that today and hear more about what made her take this giant leap of faith and create something all of her own. It is both my pleasure and my honor to introduce to you Audrey Buchanan. Audrey, thank you so much for being here and welcome to the show.

Audrey: Thank you so much, Audra. I'm so happy to be here and I am so absolutely excited to share this crazy story with all of your listeners.

Audra: You've been doing this on your own for six years, so you are now arriving at the ripe age of 30. You took a giant leap. 24 years old, you were fairly new out of college. You had a great job. You had a tremendous job. You were not unhappy with your job, but what was it that sparked that interest in you that you thought, hmm, i think that there's something more to this.

Audrey: I was so lucky to find a job out of college that afforded me the opportunity to learn and grow in a startup environment, and I absolutely loved that. My boss and mentor at the time was very new to the social media realm as well and kind of started giving me the opportunity to try things out. From those trials and errors I found this passion in myself that I didn't even know was hiding in there. After some time and really getting around other entrepreneurs in the space and business owners who were doing their own thing and seeing what they were doing and seeing this wealth of knowledge that was growing in me, the spark really ignited when I had a friend tell me I have my wedding videography company. It's not growing. I'm amazing at what I do, but nobody knows about me. Can you help me out? Here's my business, do your thing. It was that project that really was my proving ground to say I can do this. I don't know how, but I can and I want to.

Audra: Tell me what that passion was. You mentioned passion and that this creative I don't even want to say creative license. You were basically given creative freedom to explore new areas and things that weren't necessarily traditionally done with the firm you were with. What did that passion feel like? What was it? Was it the creativity or was it the results that you were able to achieve because of the creativity?

Audrey: It was, honestly, a combination of both, because I don't think you can create anything that's going to produce any type of result without some form of drive and belief, and passion is what I call it. For me, passion is drive. It's the want to explore, it's the desire to create something that hasn't been done before. In that trial and error and I always say trial and error because that's exactly what it is Nobody has it figured out. You can listen to a million different people talk about what's worked for them, but you're not going to know what's working or what will work for you until you try it for yourself.

Audrey: Having that atmosphere to try new things and do things that I hadn't seen businesses really do before, because this was back in 2015. Businesses were still very much trying to figure out how to even be on social media in a way that was effective. Having the world as your oyster, the digital world as my oyster, was really the opportunity to be creative. I've always loved to create and I've always loved art and writing. It was this perfect mold of all these things I already loved put online. Then the driving force after that was seeing the results, or even seeing the lack of results, and getting to try again or do it even better the next time.

Audra: What did that first story look like? You had this drive, you had this creativity. You were working for a firm and a friend of yours who was a photographer came to you and said help, nobody knows about me. I'm brilliant, but nobody knows about me. Let's take what you do and what I do and let's go make magic. How did that start, what did it look like And what was the surprising result?

Audrey: So it started with him showing me some of the work that he had done And instantly I was like wow, you are incredibly talented. You need more people to know about you. Show me your website. And he shows me his website and I'm like well, here's your problem. Your website and your work aren't aligned. They look like two completely different people. So we have to start there.

Audrey: So it started with getting the website designed and getting language behind that. That really started to bring what you experienced through the final result into the discovery process for the client. And in all of that, i was also taking all of this knowledge about SEO on-page SEO, off-page SEO how to really design a site in a way that's going to make people want to contact you. So we're doing all these things on the website. We get the website dialed in and now I'm like all right, great, we got the website. Now we need to go build your presence off your website to get people to the website. So that came in the form of Facebook And Instagram and Pinterest and link building, which is actually something that is so valuable in SEO that a lot of people don't talk about, and that's basically going out and doing organic PR for your website and getting it linked and featured on other high ranking sites across the web, and what that does is it tells Google hey, this site is reliable, it's credible and it's meeting search intention. So if you're looking for insert keyword here, this website is a perfect match for that. So we did all these things right. We're like, wow, we've done so much.

Audrey: And then you'd think you'd wake up the next day and you're on the first page of Google. That's not what happens. Everybody wants instant results. We're the microwave generation. We want it now, at least for my younger generation. I think the generation that you're more engaged with is the crockpot generation. We like it low and slow baby, and I'm a perfect kind of in between of those two, because SEO forces you to simmer on low for a while. It took six months of constant effort and work link building and posting and strategizing and tweaking and looking at analytics and making edits. But after that six months, we started seeing the needle move and it started moving a little more. We went from being on the third page to being on the top of the second page, to eight months being at the bottom of the first page to a year later, being at the top of the first page for over five of his main target keywords and him now being booked out over a year in advance for weddings.

That is outstanding And I want to highlight something, because I think that and you know that my audience is predominantly women of my age, which is women that are 45 to 55. You are of the millennial generation, and I think that, from my perspective, we look at the millennial generation and see a couple of different things. One, all of this new stuff is so much easier for you than it is us because, like I said in the beginning, social media still confounds me and I try and figure it out all the time. And then the other thing is that you can have instant success, and what you just told me is no, neither one of those are true.

Audra: You're doing things that are trial and error, trying it again, figuring it out, retooling, trying it again, and it's not instant. It is a lot of hard work. That isn't an overnight success, because there is no such thing as an overnight success. You just somehow made it look easy. What would you? how would you respond to me from my point of view? going, you're so much better at this and you can do it right away, and you're like no, no, that's not how this works.

Audrey: I think it's how we wish it worked, and with social media and the stories that people are telling, they make it seem like it does happen overnight.

Audrey: But I love what you said There's no such thing as an overnight success. But there's also no losses, there's only lessons, and so when you approach something that you love from a lens of I can't lose, because no one can take my love for this away from me you are going to be successful. You first have to define what success looks like for you, and in that initial trial and error process, i didn't know what success was going to look like. I had no meter for it, and so, to get the results that we got, i was I was enthralled. I mean, i'm still in disbelief that we were able to do that, because it's such an amazing thing to be a part of and to see and to have story after story after story like that. No, there's nothing perfect in it. However, seeing the opportunity as an opportunity to learn instead of a possibility at failing or losing, that's what's going to give you the ability to continue pushing through, no matter what the end result looks like.

Audra: I have no idea if you know how much wisdom you just shared with me, because I know that you were talking about your process as a business, but what you really were saying is this is your philosophy for life And this you just happened to apply it to creating a business, and at that point you didn't even have a business. This was an experiment, exactly, this was a. Let's just try it and see what happens. Yeah, you were able to take that life philosophy at a very young age I'm pretty sure at 24, i did not have that thought process As a matter of fact, i know I didn't. I was young and dumb. I'm just going to leave it at that.

Audra: I was young and dumb, but you have given yourself this permission to not get it perfect and not have to have it exactly right right out of the gate. Where does that come from? I mean, that's such maturity that I'm stunned because I'm thinking to myself how do I have I given myself that permission or not? I don't know, but tell me more. You have me fascinated. Tell me more.

Audrey: So I think what happened with me is I didn't give myself time to overthink whether or not I was going to do it. I was at this point where I knew that the world was my oyster. There was no limit of what could be done. I fully recognized and saw that And I still see that now, even coming up into 30. I'm like the sky is still the limit. The best is still yet to come.

Audrey: And I remember my neighbor at the time. She looked at me and she sat me down and she was just like Hey, like I see a lot of potential in you, can I give you a piece of advice? And I'm like, please, i love advice. Like I'm all ears, i have no idea what I'm doing, i don't know where this is going to go. And she goes just say yes, just say yes, whatever it is, just say yes. Because if you come into this new thing that you're trying to do, with all of these preset expectations and all of these limits and railings around what it's supposed to look like, you overdefined it, you overthought it and then you're not going to do anything at all. So instead, go into it, starting this new thing, saying yes to everything, so that after a few times you can start figuring out what you need to say no to.

Like I said, I am sitting here going. How in the world does this young woman have this much wisdom, with limited experience, only limited in age, not in richness. But how in the world have you figured all of this out, Audrey? I am 51. I've only started to figure this stuff out in the last couple of years And that's only because I started talking to women around the world. That's it. Otherwise, I would have been stuck in my little tunnel vision box of I must achieve, I must be successful, I must get it right immediately out of the gate. And you're saying, no, that's not the recipe to success at all.

Audrey: It's really not. I mean for me personally and my experience and anybody that comes to me and asks me like hey, i want to start, like where do I start? And I'm like, just start. And the reason I say that is because when I quit my job, my idea was I'm going to go freelance. I didn't even know what that meant, but I was like I'm going to go do it. And I asked around and I did some Googling and I found some websites where you can apply and look at freelance opportunities and find gigs. And I created a profile on there as Audrey Buchanan of Let's Be Social. I had no website, i had no social media. I had a portfolio, a resume and a whole lot of tenacity And that is where I started And that's all I needed.

Audrey: And later, and the website came and the branding came and and all of the other things, they came, but they weren't required to start.

Audrey: And I think that because I gave myself the permission to build in public and to not be afraid of what that looked like and also to not be intimidated by people around me who were doing the same thing around the same time and look like they had it way more figured out than I did. I'm like that's cool, like good for them, I'm not doing it that way and I'm still learning, and that's okay. So now I think, because of the way that the industry is, especially the online industry and the entrepreneurial industry as a whole, you look around and you see all these people who seemingly already have it figured out. They have this website, they have this great brand and oh wow, they're so big on social media. They didn't always have all of that either. So it's okay if you don't have it Like. You won't know unless you try. And what I found is that my values, my own personal ethos and my desire to help people is what mattered to the people I started working with, so much more than a logo or a website.

Audra: So your own brand, meaning who you are, is what the value that the world saw. It wasn't your logo, it wasn't your website, it wasn't that you had it all dialed in and you all had it all figured out. People were drawn to you because you had, you had tenacity, you're scrappy and you also had this set of values that you were committed to and We're not gonna stray from, and that was your calling card. That was what brought people to you. Exactly Because I think that there's there's a lot of Individuals because I speak mostly to women There's a lot of women that are like, oh, but that's already out there.

Audra: Or they already do it, and they do it really well. Why? why do I need to do it? Why, you know, why do I need to put my myself out there? There's a hundred and fifty different other options. Or They have a product that they make and they want to put it out on Etsy, but there's. But they say, oh, it's saturated. Who wants to do business with me? You're saying that that's not a Correct thinking. That's. that's talking yourself out of it.

Yeah honestly, i think if that's how You feel and those are the thoughts that are running through your head, then you haven't taken the time to look deep enough in yourself to Bet on you say that one more time, seriously say that one more time, if you're feeling like there's no room for you In the space that you're trying to break into. You haven't spent enough time looking within yourself to find what's going to make it worth betting on you.

Audra: I want to meet your parents. I Seriously want to meet your parents because they have raised quite an Incredible human being that is out on this planet and, as you know that I have met many women, you offer a service where there's plenty of them out there, but I've never actually met anybody quite like you, and that is a that is a credit Not only to yourself, but to your incredibly strong parents. So, if they're listening, thank you for investing this much into this human being, because she's gonna change the world you watch. I want to ask you what have you gained by Building this business is? when you and I met before, you said I have this one precious life, i need to do something with it and this is my shot. But now that you've done it, what have you received from this one shot?

Audrey: I have gained the opportunity to impact more lives and to give back to a community, an industry of of businesses small and local owned and mom and pop businesses that have been totally neglected and underserved and wronged by big corporate businesses that are just looking at them as a number.

Audrey: And being able to have a hand in so many different industries and to be able to help so many different businesses, my treasure box of jewels is like overflowing. And Then, on top of that, i get the opportunity to give opportunity to up-and-coming marketers and and creators who are looking to break into the space and and do what I do, and I get to Provide them with a platform to do that and help them in their journey. I mean, what more could you ask for? as somebody who Just absolutely loves the opportunity to help people, no matter where they're at? I mean I get to Exercise that opportunity every single day, whether it's hopping on the phone with one of my teammates or talking with someone who's new in business, or Working with one of our clients on a new idea or project. It's like it's it's never ending. I I've created this world that I'm so immersed in doing what I love and being around people that I get to help that. It's like I literally couldn't imagine not doing it now.

Audra: Well, you, like I said, you are changing the world in your special way by you helping these small businesses which, quite frankly, are The backbone of most communities, because every dollar that you spend with a small business goes right back into that community. Exactly, what is one of your favorite success stories, because I know you have a lot of them. What is one of your favorite from these small mom-and-pop shops that have been overlooked and, quite frankly, dismissed? Oh my gosh, yeah, i have so many.

Audrey: The one that initially came to mind is a really fun project that I got to work on with a Friend that I went to high school with. His family is now third generation family owned and still operated towing company based in Los Angeles Pepe's towing and the son and I were like best friends in high school And when he went in and started taking over and working at the towing company shortly after that was when I started Let's Be Social And he reached out to me and he was like hey, we've been working with a really large marketing company who did our website and they manage some of our social media and they help us with our review generation And honestly, I feel like they just don't get us. They aren't able to really communicate the way that we need them to And I think we could do better. Are you up for the challenge? And I looked at him and I was like, yeah, I'm up for it, Let's do it.

Audrey: So we took his one page website and built it out to be closer to about 20 pages. We created all individualized service pages and we created really well targeted city pages to help him start ranking in the outer skirts like the smaller little neighborhood cities of Los Angeles, And we also started helping him with his Facebook and his Instagram. And I kid you, not one of my favorite stories to tell is how, when we came on board, he had a thousand followers on Instagram and through our engagement strategies, partnered with his love for what he does and posting about really cool jobs that they're doing, we were able to grow the following from 1,000 to 10,000 in 12 months.

Audra: Wow, followers doesn't always equal revenue. What does that look like? Because it's great when you get followers. It's more important when you get active engagement, and that usually means revenue.

Audrey: Yeah, so at the time, too, we were actively growing his YouTube, we were able to start monetizing his YouTube channel, so his YouTube is totally monetized now too. He has, i believe, closer to 250,000 subscribers now on YouTube, which is insane for a towing company.

Audra: And it's a towing company. Yeah, It's a towing company. What could they possibly show on YouTube? But apparently something really fascinating. the 250,000 people want to pay attention.

Audrey: Yeah, actually it might be 25,000. I'm trying to think of the numbers in my head but I don't want to puff him up too much because he might feel it for me. Don't get crazy. So, yeah, i think it's actually closer to 25,000 now that I'm thinking about it. But the really great thing is it's given them the opportunity to be the dominating heavy-duty towing company in Los Angeles.

Audrey: They have been featured on the news during COVID. They got multiple news segments for recovery jobs that they did out of the Los Angeles National Park And the overall revenue of the business. I can't speak to directly, but I know for a fact that they get calls nonstop and they are the one in the industry that other towing companies really look to because they are the first, especially in Southern California. They're one of the first companies that has really demanded an online presence. If you look at a number of other towing companies in the area in comparison, their online presence and their consistency in that presence is very lacking. And I know that we're doing something right because about a year ago another company ripped off a bunch of our web pages and tried to make them their own.

Audra: Oh well, you understand that you're doing something right when someone's trying to steal from you.

Audrey: Yeah, so a lot of the direct impact that we have on the business. We weren't really told, but I can just tell from the growth that he's seen that the impact has been far and wide and what really really makes me super happy is knowing that we were able to take a company in an industry that is known for not posting online at all and give them a digital presence that is very far reaching and inspiring to others who are trying to grow their business.

Audra: But you know what I like about this story.

Audra: But first of all, i like everything about this story, but one of the things actually two things I like about the story One you took a third generation company and you transformed it to create real generational wealth, because you have expanded it to have far reaching audiences, not just the little community they were in. So that's the first thing that I note. The second thing that I note is that you took your friend's vision, this kernel of an idea, and you're like you know what, i believe in your idea, so much that I'm not going to tell you that it's a crazy idea. I'm going to say let's go for it, let's do it, let's see what can happen. And that hearkens back to your values of I want to partner with my clients on what's important to them, because what's important to them is important to me. And if that means that you do Towing YouTube channel, well then you're doing a Towing YouTube channel, like I said, that you monetize that thing for Towing. You know, then anything is possible, literally anything is possible.

Audrey: I fully believe that And that's why I shared that story out of any of our other success stories, because it's an industry that I think is so underrated. When it comes to thinking about what's sexy on social media and growing your business online, everybody wants the travel and the pet and the e-commerce, and here we are working with a Towing company and absolutely loving every single minute of it. So that was like one of the funnest projects we ever worked on, and it's because I love a challenge and I tell my team that all the time. I'm like not every client that we get is going to be glamorous, but we are going to make it fun, so you put an element of fun into everything you do.

Audra: I don't, i don't hear you saying I hate Mondays Does I don't hear that at all in your voice And I don't think that if I talk to any of your team members that they would say that either, that they would say, oh, Monday's the worst day.

No, we have fun. We actually have team meetings on Mondays, So we kick it off with a really really good energy and a good vibe All of us. We get on Zoom and we have like a Monday kickoff call.

Audra: That sounds like fun. That sounds like a lot of fun And I'm going to. I'm going to speak for myself for a little bit, but I think that I'm speaking for a very large group of my audience members. We have done what we thought we had to do for a long time, and there is this creative spirit that has been sitting in our souls for a really long time and just been sitting there dormant because we were too busy doing what we had to do And not doing the things that we wanted to do. But now it's becoming louder and louder because, as you said in the beginning, you got one life, you got one shot, and we're all sitting there thinking, if I don't do it now, i don't ever think I'll do it. And what if I don't?

Audra: So what would you say to women of my generation that has done everything they were supposed to do and are successful in their own right? They're missing something and they want to go do something that fulfills them, that is not just successful but is fulfilling. But they've got this ugh in their guts in this. I don't know What do you say to them.

Audrey: How bad do you want it? How bad do you really want it? Are you in love with the idea of it, or is this something that you have decided that you can no longer live without?

Audra: Yikes, but that's the only answer that can come from them.

Audrey: Exactly, and that's why it goes back to what I said earlier about have you taken the time to look within yourself? Stop looking around at what everybody else is doing and look inside of your own self. Take that inventory and I guarantee you there is something in there. You're going to pull it out and it's going to be the shiny coin and you're going to say this is it, this is my token, that I needed to bet on me, and now I'm going to go do it. And until you find that, you're going to constantly make excuses as to why you can't or why you don't have enough time or so, and so did it better.

Audrey: When I started my business, i didn't even think about the fact that there are a million other digital marketing companies or digital marketers out there.

Audrey: The thought didn't even cross my mind because to me, it was irrelevant. I knew that this is what I had to do. I knew that it was what I was meant to do and I was going to do it at whatever capacity I could, whether it was helping my friends at the time to organize hip hop shows in my free time, just to get experience and exposure, or if it was going to be to be someone's personal assistant so that I could pay my bills, or even if it was going to be working part time with another smaller agency so that I could get revenue in order to invest in my business, to start growing and getting my own clients. Like I did not care what it looked like If it was scrubbing toilets. To get to the end goal, i will do it. And until you get that alive in you again, there's no amount of books or research or whatever talking to other people listening to podcasts that you can do. That's going to get you to that point. You got to get to it within yourself.

Audra: Well, all of that saying all of that, and all those things that you did and all of the sacrifices you made, was it worth it?

Audrey: 120,000%. It was worth it.

What does it feel like on this side?

Audrey: Oh man, it's still hard. You still got to wake up and fight every single day for the vision, because every inch of you is going to want to take the easy way out and stay comfortable. But the second that you step out of your comfort zone and you start doing the hard things and you start feeling the fulfillment that comes from doing the hard things, it gets a lot more exciting to start putting one foot in front of the other, foot in front of the other foot, not looking 20 steps ahead, literally just looking at the one step you need to take today And then now, being six years into it, looking back and seeing how much ground I covered and how big some hills were to get to the top of and how deep some valleys were that I was in the bottom of, but just still knowing that I needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other. sometimes that's enough to get you through it.

Audra: You know, normally at this point of the interview I usually ask for you to, for me to step back from the microphone, for you to share something direct with the audience. But you've been doing that the entire interview And, like I said, i want to meet your parents because they invested some special, special time into you. So I'm going to still say I'm going to step back from the mic and give you an opportunity to speak directly to the audience, because I have no doubt that you have some more wisdom that we could all use. So the floor is yours.

Audrey: Thank you. The biggest piece of advice that I would want to leave you with today is to get back to what really matters. There's something in you that you really really loved to do and that brought you so much joy, and something happened to cause that to go dormant and to become a little bit stagnant. It might have been getting married, having kids, a new job, a promotion. Something happened, and I want you to go back and look and pinpoint what that something was and what it is going to take to put just that one foot forward, to get back to doing what fuels you and brings you so much life that you are almost too excited to go to sleep at night, but also so excited to wake up in the morning to have even just 30 minutes to do that little bit of what brings you so much joy.

How many of us have been missing that? I think more than we would like to admit. I thank you for leaving that, leaving that statement with us. Just give everybody a little reminder of go find that specialness that they were born with and maybe put on the shelf for a little while. Go take it off the shelf and see what it looks like. Go see if it fits and go figure out what still lights you on fire. Audrey, if the audience wanted to reach out to you for any reason, if they needed your services, if they needed advice, they needed a pep talk, because you would give a phenomenal one. where can they reach you?

Audrey: So you can reach me on social media, any platform. Mainly, i'm on Instagram at Let's Bee Social, and it's be like a bumblebee. So let's be ee social and my website is letsbeesocialcom.

Audra: Thank you so much for spending this time with us. I will put all of your information in the show notes so that people can reach out to you directly. I am just stunned with this conversation. I had no idea what to expect. You had reached out to me and you had this spark about you that I was like I need to interview her. I don't know where it's going to go which is always the my most favorite part of these interviews, because I never know where they're going to go And you have absolutely stunned me, inspired me and I'm really hoping that you've inspired somebody else. So, once again, thank you for spending your time with us.

Audrey: Thank you again, thank you so much for having me, and if anybody out there needs a pep talk, just hit me up on Instagram and we will make it happen.

Audra: Guys, make her your friend. Everybody needs a friend like Audrey. Thank you all again for joining me this week and we'll see you again next time. 

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