Maybe you’ve heard me say before (likely, rather passionately), that there’s no shortcut to building a successful business. Furthermore, a business is built on relationships, and there’s no shortcut to building relationships, either.
You have to genuinely care about connecting with people and helping them, and sometimes doing so without the intention of trying to sell them something afterward.
I think this is one of the reasons why I felt a strong connection with Tammy Gibson, a content consultant. When we first met on social media, it was because I wanted to connect with like-minded female professionals. I also loved that Tammy is a pro with branding — something I’m not the best at.
I knew I’d learn something from her. But I was even more thrilled to discover that she’s as nice in private as she is in public. She truly cares about forming relationships and supporting other professionals, just because that’s the kind of person she is.
These remarkable qualities absolutely shine through her work, too. Tammy is the exact kind of person you want to work with on your social media, blog posts, and email content, because she values quality and relationships above all else.
I’m so grateful that Tammy gave me some of her time to talk more about her experience and offer valuable insight into becoming a business owner.
A Chat With Tammy Gibson: Content Creator Extraordinaire
While her business spans all types of content, for Tammy, it started with blogging.
Megan Grant: How did you get your start?
Tammy Gibson: The short version is that I started an online boutique in the days before social media became the mega machine that it is. The best way to market your business back then was to blog, so I began to blog about topics that aligned with my boutique. I fell in love with blogging, sold the boutique, and continued blogging full-time for 13 years!
When Instagram came on the scene, brands shifted their sponsorship money to those on the up-and-coming platform. As a blogging purest, I stubbornly avoided the platform. When ad money dwindled, I started coaching others on how to create their own blogs.
This eventually shifted into a more comprehensive form of content marketing, which is what I do today.
MG: Marketing and branding are incredibly challenging these days. It’s hard to differentiate yourself. What do you think freelancers need to do to stand out from other professionals?
TG: Two things: content and connection!
Content is the soul of your business that connects with others on your behalf.
First, create a content plan that reflects your wisdom, style, and personality, and share it consistently across your online platform.
Second, start building relationships. Be intentional about who you are reaching out to and take that extra step of getting on a Zoom call with them to discover how you can support each other. Don’t even think about sales. Just be available to listen, share, and brainstorm together. These relationships can blossom into collaborations, new clients, and new friends!
Tammy has more than a decade of experience in this industry, giving her an amazing perspective.
MG: If you could go back in your career and do one thing differently, would you? What would it be?
TG: I definitely would have started on Instagram much sooner. As entrepreneurs, we have to be flexible and release resistance to change. The digital world in which we do business is always changing!
MG: What’s the best way for an aspiring freelancer to get that first client without experience?
TG: Start by building your online platform, which includes your thought leadership content. Then, start building relationships. Once you connect with others, they will check out your website and social media, so make sure your content is a true reflection of your expertise. Also, believe in yourself. If you don’t, why would others?
MG: What’s the best way for people to keep up with this changing industry, since it sometimes changes by the day?
TG: Keep your finger on the pulse of the digital world by following industry experts who have been in the game for years. They have learned to recognize trends and have become very good at sharing up-to-date content that you need to know.
Platforms that provide a service to help you better utilize the digital space for your freelance service are going to be on top of the latest news because it impacts their business, too. Sites like Canva, Later.com, and Fiverr all have helpful blogs, newsletters, and social media accounts worth following.
MG: Who do you love to follow for excellent marketing/branding advice?
- @jessicazweig (her business is what my business wants to be when it grows up)
- @thisisvirginiakerr (she is hysterical, though I’m totally jealous of her perfect skin! LOL)
- @annavatuone (I believe in the power of personal branding and Anna lives what she teaches)
If you need help taking your Instagram game to the next level, grab her free guide on best practices for IG engagement in 2021 .