Give us a history of how you got started, when and how things fell apart, and how things are going right now. [01:11]
Sophie: I actually started my business about 21 years ago, when my second child was just a year old. We needed more income for the family, so I jumped into the online world as a freelancer, and I got a job as a customer service representative for an e-commerce guy in New York.
I worked with him for four years, managing his half a million dollar company for a whopping $12 an hour. But I got burned out and frazzled, so I quit and became a stay-at-home mom.
Then the house started falling apart, so I had to go back to work. But I decided not to do e-commerce. I began transcribing teleseminars of online coaches, consultants, and entrepreneurs. Later I quit the transcription job because I wanted to be a virtual assistant.
I launched myself into the online world, jumped on social media, and networked my tail off. Six months later, in October of 2009, Sophie Zo, LLC was launched. I spent seven years building that business. In seven years, I had not crossed the six-figure mark up to that point.
So I signed up for David Nagle’s program. Eighteen months later, I hit six figures. I had a client who asked me to go exclusive with them during that time period. I worked for them from January of 2018 and in January of 2019, they let me go.
I ended up losing all my business.
“Visualize what you want your future to be and then just run towards it at full speed.”
Were you working as a salaried employee for the company or as a contractor? [04:47]
Sophie: I didn’t close my business; I just made them my only client, so I was still a 1099 contractor. My contract had a 30-day clause, so they could let me go with a 30-day notice.
And that’s what they did; they let me go immediately and just paid it out through the end of that 30-day notice. I was literally done, no clients, no revenue, except that one little payment that they owed me for the next 30 days.
But thankfully, I had been building out digital marketing side gigs to speak for my company and increase my revenue. So when they let me go in 2019, that became my focus. With the help of David Nagel, I made some changes to the digital agency.
In six months, I reclaimed six figures as of March 2020. And 2020—even with the pandemic— ended up being my best year ever. And this year is even better; I hit my goal of multiple six figures.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you’re making. Sometimes if you don’t have a life, money doesn’t matter.”
Tell me about your digital marketing agency. [07:53]
Sophie: We are a family business now. And it’s actually more than just digital marketing because I do so many different things on the marketing operations and admin side of things.
We help business owners who are ready for next-level marketing, operations, and admin services to scale their business. They don’t have to hire five different people; they don’t have to manage those five different people, the planning and strategy that all goes with it.
I evolved again from that digital marketing agency concept in 2019 into the marketing operations and admin support that we provide all in one place.
Can you tell me about the dynamics in your life while running your business? [09:55]
Sophie: In 2019 when I lost my business, I got to see just how much my husband supports me in my business. The moment I got that phone call that they let me go, I crumbled.
My husband works from home so I went downstairs to his office, bawling my eyes out. He looked at me to ask what had happened.
I told him the situation and he said, “Sit down and look at your numbers, figure out what you can cut expense wise, figure out how much you need to run for six months, and we will take some of our money and put six months worth of funds into your business and give you six months to rebuild it. Or, you can quit and just do whatever you want.”
I figured out how much I needed and he liquidated some assets to invest in my business. I recovered almost 100% in 2019, and I was profitable in 2020.
And again this year, I’m growing stronger and stronger and bigger and bigger every year.
“Look at things from a positive perspective and say these things are happening for me, not to me.”
What advice would you like to give to the listeners? [19:48]
Sophie: My biggest tip is not only to keep going and have faith in yourself and what you’re doing but surround yourself with people who support you and believe in you. Whether that’s just family and friends or whether it’s a coach or mentor.
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