In this week’s episode, we’ve invited Amy Carter, who highlights the importance of storytelling for your business.
Amy is passionate about writing and opted to create content for small businesses as a fulltime job. Furthermore, she discusses tips on where to find your audience and how to pick out the right social media platform for yourself and your company. She’s a cheerful soul who motivates one and all to follow their dreams and be vocal.
Amy’s website: https://www.lewiscartercreative.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to the podcast. My guest today is Amy Carter. Amy founded Lewis Carter creative after leaving her position as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. She wanted the opportunity to help small business owners tell their stories with engaging content and robust social media. She began her career as a freelance writer, contributing to Lucky Dog films, The Denver Post, the examiner, the Minnesota boxer rescue and many more private organizations. Since then, she has managed marketing programs, content creation and social media for large and small companies in St. Paul, San Francisco, and Denver, Colorado. She truly enjoys the challenge of creating meaningful content that speaks to social media users and strengthens a company’s brand. Oh, a girl after my own heart. Amy, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Amy Carter 1:09
Thank you so much for having me. This is awesome. I’m so excited.
Katie Brinkley 1:12
Yeah. Well, let’s start with that. start back at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what life was like growing up.
Amy Carter 1:18
I grew up in upstate New York, Syracuse went to su for a little bit, graduated from Emerson and Boston. And then almost immediately after college, I came out to Denver, just kind of like seeking a little adventure. So here I am. 20 million years later.
Katie Brinkley 1:33
It’s hard to leave Denver once once you’ve come and gotten a taste of it. It’s hard to leave.
Amy Carter 1:39
Yeah, believe me, after I married my husband, we, his company moved him back to Minnesota for a few years. And then I was in Minnesota in San Francisco, and just thrilled. Absolutely thrilled to be back so well. And yeah, tell
Katie Brinkley 1:50
us a little bit about leaving strong role of Vice President of Sales and Marketing to go the freelance route. Tell us a little bit about that decision and how it has impacted your your career professional journey?
Amy Carter 2:01
Yeah, well, I think that a lot of big companies always have money to tell their story. And they can tell it any way that they like. So there’s a lot of really interesting smaller brands who just need to help telling that story or they don’t know what to say, or they think no one’s listening, or they think it’s just going to happen on its own, actually works for a friend of mine in San Francisco. He on 4505 meets a definitely a small brand small company. But he did a beautiful job really building this evangelical following, but telling his story like one day at a time. So I thought this was amazing. And I wanted to be part of that. And there’s great stories to tell. But I just feel like let’s find your story and tell it and let’s add on to it in a way that’s impactful for your clients and customers for your business for your family. And for everyone around your community to I feel like not enough people talk about their place in their community also. So
Katie Brinkley 2:51
that’s like I said, girl after my own heart after reading your your bio here. And that’s one thing with social media that a lot of companies forget is having that social aspect is having in the community is telling your story. What makes you different? Why should people work with you in your company, and social media is a great way to write that story?
Amy Carter 3:15
Yeah, you’re right. It totally is. And I feel like a lot of people are number one, I hear it all the time. I effing hate social media. Okay, great. So you hate it, because you’re being forced into it, because you see everyone else doing it, and you don’t understand how to make it work for your brand. So rather than just, we have to do something, let’s think about the thing that’s going to be most impactful to you. And maybe it’s not Instagram, maybe it’s not Facebook, maybe it’s something else that we haven’t even thought of maybe it’s an email campaign, just not for everybody. And I have worked with clients before and said, you know, what social media is not for you, like, Let’s knock it off, stop trying to make this square peg fit in a round hole. And let’s find the things that will make telling your story meaningful to your clients and customers. So I think
Katie Brinkley 3:55
that a lot of businesses go about social media that the wrong way, like you were saying, You don’t need to be on every single social channel, you need to be on the ones that make the most sense for your story for your company for your brand. I mean, if you are a management training course, are you going to find a ton of traction on a visual platform like Instagram, where you know, you could have a ton of traction on LinkedIn, because those are the people that are interested in management training courses. So finding the right niche, finding the right platform for your channel is huge. And finding the story to tell behind it. And I want to talk to you a little bit about your career journey. So let’s back up a little bit. I get so excited talking about social media. But let’s back up a little bit. And talk about take us through your career journey, where you started out and some of the different professional stops that you had along the way.
Amy Carter 4:43
Sure. That’s a good question. Why we got to go way back. I have always been a writer, always a freelance writer. My degree is in writing and publishing with a minor in Screenwriting. So I feel like I’m a storyteller right I want to tell the story I want to talk about this and that and the other thing and but as it relates to your brand, so but for Lansing in the beginning was I did write a few things for the Denver Post, the examiner surprised that organizations never really sales copy always what you call now content, articles, blogs, that kind of thing. And I did, I worked in events for a little bit, just kind of growing my network and then working in events and with creating content when we moved to Minnesota in San Francisco. And then when I came back, I just felt like I had the itch again, like I’m a writer, I want to write, I want to tell this story. I never felt like, I want to be a movie writer, I want to be this kind of writer, I just feel like, I got to tell the story. And if it’s a good story, I’m gonna tell it 10 different ways. And if it’s a funny story, I’m gonna never stop telling you, I will never stop telling it. So yeah, I mean, that’s just kind of the way it rolled out. And I was fortunate enough to really be able to take a step away from corporate regular type job and really start my own thing. So that was, I mean, extremely rewarding. So you
Katie Brinkley 5:50
talked a bit about stepping away from your job and starting your own thing. It’s a very scary thing to do. Yeah, talk to us a little bit about making that transition.
Amy Carter 6:01
I really felt strongly that nine to five was not for me, I’m just not that corporate person. And people watching the clock, and it’s 449 You can’t go home yet, like that feels really off to me. So being able to make your own path, whether what you’re doing in your personal life, your professional life, being able to give yourself that gift is what I really wanted. And I felt like I could always make a living writing. I had done it many times before. So I was gonna do it. And I just I tapped into friends that I had and people that I knew that needed this kind of help. And we just kind of started this journey. And I it’s so corny. But when you say leap, and the net will appear, yes, that’s true. But you got to do the work to like, I did a lot of work. I did some pro bono stuff and stuff. I didn’t get paid for it just because I wanted the connection or whatever. So you got to do the work, you got to be ready to do the work. Yeah,
Katie Brinkley 6:49
that leads me to my next question. If someone is listening right now, who is aspiring to make that leap into entrepreneurship? What is the single biggest piece of advice that you would give to him or her as the journey starts,
Amy Carter 7:01
I think you got to do your homework. Number one, you got to know what you’re getting yourself into, you know, I’m not just a writer, I’m also a networker, I’m a salesperson, I’m a bill collector, I’m all these things, you got to know what you’re getting signing up for. But you got to do the work. I mean, there’s just, it’s not gonna just come to you, you got to wake up every day and act like this is my real job. Not, this is just what I want to do until I find something else, or I’m just just freelancing. I never feel like it’s just freelancing. I feel like freelancing is a huge subject, a huge job to have. So yeah, you can’t expect anything from anyone, you got to do the work. You got to plan on doing it all yourself until you can hire somebody fingers.
Katie Brinkley 7:39
If you could go back and do anything differently in your journey to where you are now, what would you change, if anything, I
Amy Carter 7:44
think I would have started earlier. I mean, we know what we know now about social media, even though it changes every five minutes, but I would have started paying attention to it a little bit sooner, just knowing like I have all this great content and great ways to get it out there. But I think I don’t want to say it came too late. But people weren’t really using that the way that they should have been when you think about Twitter just became like a news aggregator when it could have been used for this client or that client differently. So yeah, I mean, I don’t know that I ever would have gone to a corporate job either like this is working at home as my thing and working remotely, I guess I should say. So yeah. Starting sooner. Don’t wait. That’s my advice. Don’t wait.
Katie Brinkley 8:19
What do you say? No. Do you think that’s one of the biggest mistakes that business owners make when they’re just getting started out? Is is waiting on following their passion?
Amy Carter 8:27
Yeah, for sure. I think that people wait for, well, I’m gonna save a little more money, or I’m gonna wait till this happens. I’m going to wait till that happens. I’m going to wait till this crisis is over or the school year starts or whatever it is, but there’s never going to be a time as good as right now. So I mean, start it leap. And the net will appear, right? I mean, I know I said it already. But
Katie Brinkley 8:47
tell us a little bit about finding an engaging with clients and customers these days for your company. I know you said when you first started out, you did a lot of pro bono stuff. What do you do now to try and get those new clients in the door.
Amy Carter 9:00
I’m looking at people that I want to work with too. And I am at a point now where I feel like I can say, You know what, this isn’t a great fit for me, which means it’s not going to be a great fit for you. So I look for brands that I respond to or things that I feel like I can help them tell their story. But yeah, I just some of my business comes from referral to but I’ve never really felt like I have to take this even though it’s not really a great fit for me, but I mean, I just look for stuff that things that I like, you know, for example, like the boxer rescue, like we have boxers, I mean, they get made I get their vibe like that wasn’t easy that something like nightlife or writing about like a club or something that’s not me. So it’s easy for me to say no thanks, but looking for things that we like to do things that we respond to. That’s an easy, an easy sell.
Katie Brinkley 9:45
And it’s hard for a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses to make that decision. Right? Cuz just turning away money and especially when you’re starting out turning away clients and stuff, even if you have a feeling in your stomach like oh, this I don’t know if I really want to do this But money coming in, and maybe I could learn to like it. But it’s it’s definitely one of those things where you have to find clients that align with you and your business. Yeah, that just like they interview you, you need to interview them just as much.
Amy Carter 10:15
Totally, I would totally agree with that, for a long time a business was all other women owned businesses. And I didn’t know if I was just like putting out that vibe, or that’s just who I liked to work with. But it felt that felt right to me. So it worked. And I do b2c and b2b for clients. So like I said, it’s just something that I respond to, personally, that makes it work professionally. And if you think it’s not going to work, you’re probably right, do everyone a favor, think twice about that,
Katie Brinkley 10:41
I’d like to talk a little bit about crafting a strong social media presence for a company or for business, because a lot of small businesses, like you said, at the beginning of the podcast, like, oh, I don’t like social media. And it’s the reason that they say that is because they don’t understand it. And I’d like you to kind of go through some of the processes of creating a strong social media presence for small businesses, and that it doesn’t need to be something that you don’t like, it can be a great way for you to tell your story and get your message out there.
Amy Carter 11:10
Right? I think it starts with what are you willing to put into it? So everyone wants to be on Instagram, I have a couple speakers, if you’re not a great fit for Instagram, you’re just not that visual. There’s a lot of noise on Instagram, you’re better off on Alignable, or LinkedIn or Google. So it’s finding what’s gonna suit your niche the best? Where are your clients, really? And then, what is the story? What is your brand? Want to tell people? Where’s your place in the community? How do you want to speak to people, not just sell, sell, sell? Before we even talk about selling anything? What do you want to say to people, I want to say this, I want to say that, you know, this is our lifestyle brands. So we want these kinds of people. And that helps me to when we talk about ideal clients. People love to say my ideal client is someone who has money to spend on my product, okay, I get it. But what turns them into an evangelical for your brand, they’re into this lifestyle, they fit into your hashtag idea, you know, whatever that is. So you have to really have a solid idea about who you are brand wise, and what that looks like. Because I can’t, we can’t make it all fit together. You know, if you don’t belong on LinkedIn, let’s not go there. Or you don’t belong on Instagram. I think the real the joy and the curse with Instagram or some social media, too, is it’s changed so many lives. I don’t mean to be corny about it. But I look at like, they say Kim Kardashian like changed social media. It’s true, your brand is not a Kardashian brand. So just step back from that and think, how do we get my clients to love my brand, or listen to my story, and like my brand, and then speak about my brand in a way that makes other people excited about it, too. So it’s a deep dive. And I think that people think social media and marketing like Oh, it’s so easy. It’s so sexy itself is that there’s a lot of unsexy work that happens first, and getting people to understand that part of it is a gift if we can get to that on that first meeting, or first couple meetings. That’s a gift so.
Katie Brinkley 12:58
And like you said, it’s Kim Kardashian definitely changed social media for a lot of personal brand aspects. Yes. And that’s not what an auto mechanic needs to think of when they go on to a program. I think that one of the best ways to go about social media is to think of it as you’re building your own little community, your own little like neighborhood block party. And why do people want to continue coming back to it, you don’t just always want to be sold to I mean, you don’t want to go to a party and have someone just talk about themselves the whole time and never asked you how your day was, it’s a two way street of opening the door for conversation. And having that community feel as to like, Hey, this is today is our employee Joe’s 10 year anniversary at the company. These are some of the things that he’s passionate about, and giving those people that like, warm embrace into your company community,
Amy Carter 13:46
right, you’re opening the door for the conversation with them is really what it is. And I think people want to put all their eggs in the social media basket. And that’s not really what it is. This has to fit hand in hand with other things that you’re doing, not just the day to day, performing a service and taking attack kind of business, but who you are, what your neighbors think about you what your clients think what your employees think, in your strong social media presence not only contributes to your brand, and your customers, I think it contributes to you being able to find and hold on to great staff because they can’t wait to wear the t shirt with your logo or they have to be part of this brand. Like figuring out the thing that makes people want that. That’s really that turns the key. But then again, you think to like, is anyone going to feel that way about an insurance agent? Or are they going to feel that way about a mechanic? And if not, then we need to talk about them in other ways to get people on board with that. So it’s never the same game twice, but it’s always good content to get people revved up like them.
Katie Brinkley 14:37
Now you brought up a social media medium that I’m I’m sure not very many people have heard of or might be using to their advantage and that is Alignable. Can you talk to us a little bit about Alignable and why it’s beneficial to be on this platform.
Amy Carter 14:53
Alignable is I don’t want to say it’s a mini LinkedIn but it’s a little bit smaller than LinkedIn. It is for small businesses. So a lot of you People out there thinking, no, no, no, I just want to deal with big business, this might not be for you. Alignable is less about the content that we create and more about you talking to people and building your network, which I’m a big fan of that to your network is huge, especially when you own your own business. So Alignable has to be I don’t really manage a lot of Alignable for people, because I feel like it has to be done by the person, I’m never going to engage in a conversation for you. But certainly write emails and give you talking points for engaging those conversations. So it’s a really good place to start from one small business owner to another small business owner.
Katie Brinkley 15:33
Yeah, I like to think of Alignable is basically like going to one of those to a networking event. But you can do it from your home, and you can start private conversations and see where it goes from there. And it’s great because it’s way more targeted than LinkedIn is, for example. So you get connected with a lot of other small businesses that are in your very close proximity. So you can’t it makes it easy to go meet for a cup of coffee,
Amy Carter 15:58
right. And I think I mean, you can’t really say no to anything at this point when we can’t really get together face to face right now. So Alignable could be a good jumping off point for building some of those relationships to start with, and then start talking about your brand and telling your story. One passion
Katie Brinkley 16:11
that so many business owners and entrepreneurs have is to build a business around their lifestyle, not the other way around. How has that played out in your story and approach to running your business?
Amy Carter 16:20
I don’t want to brag, but I feel like that’s exactly what I’m doing. I mean, I really, I enjoy it. My husband and I both work from home, which sometimes it’s awesome. Sometimes he’s ready to kill me, I’m sure but it is nice. I never feel like I have to tell my boss that I’m going to the dentist and feeling guilty about taking time off because there’s things that I need to do or things that I want to do. So sometimes I do work on Saturdays and Sundays, and it doesn’t bother me. Because Tuesday afternoon, I need to go to the dentist or it just it’s a much better fit. It doesn’t feel quite so hectic I get it’s a lot less anxiety. I don’t sit in traffic, I don’t have to answer to somebody, if I want to work sitting on the couch. It just, it’s a good fit. It feels good. And I wish and hope that other businesses will see that and get the benefit of that.
Katie Brinkley 17:04
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received? And how has that impacted your business
Amy Carter 17:08
ever received? Oh my gosh. I don’t know I go back to you gotta do the work. I mean, there’s no magic bullet for any of this. There’s no magic formula, like you have to do the work so but it’s got to be work that you love. When it’s work that you love. It feels a lot better. But you got to just work.
Katie Brinkley 17:24
Now before we finish up, is there anything that I didn’t ask you about during today’s discussion that you think is important to share? Gosh, that’s
Amy Carter 17:31
another good one. Nothing springs to mind. But then again, this is my first podcast. So
Katie Brinkley 17:37
Well, this has been such a great conversation. Where can we find out more about you and your business online?
Amy Carter 17:43
My website is Lewis Carter creative calm, and you will be shocked to hear that I’m not currently maintaining any social profiles for my business. Working on everyone else’s.
Katie Brinkley 17:54
I know exactly how that is. I have it’s been a 2020 goal for me was to actually get my social media for my company up on on social media. Let me
Amy Carter 18:06
know if you need help with that. I know. It’s
Katie Brinkley 18:08
so hard. I mean, it comes last because I’m doing social media for everyone else. I totally hear you exactly. Doing your own social medias at the very bottom of the list.
Amy Carter 18:18
Right? Right. I’d be great at though. Other robust profiles.
Katie Brinkley 18:22
Right. Awesome. Well, thank you again so much, Amy for coming on the show today. Thanks for having me, Katie. This was great. And if you’re ready to take your social media to the next level for your small business, head over to my website and check out my free video training the three biggest mistakes small businesses make with social media and how to avoid them. Discover how to make your social media marketing stand out from the crowd online. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com or connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.