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Inspiring Conversations with Debbie Miller of Social Hospitality

Today we’d like to introduce you to Debbie Miller.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Most of my career trajectory has been a series of “happy accidents.” I got my first job through an internship program during my last year of college. I interned that year, then was hired full-time upon graduating. The job was managing the web presence for a destination marketing organization during the dawn of social media for business.

After three years, my employer was going through a transition period, and I knew I’d be laid off. Since this had been my first job out of college, it was a substantial and awkward period, contemplating spending my days in a different atmosphere than the one which I’d become accustomed in my only post-school experience. Thankfully, I was offered a job at a marketing agency with whom I’d partnered at my previous gig, so I started working there in digital communication the month after I was laid off.

As I began to prepare for this major life transition, I consulted many business associates for feedback. Some of the most valuable advice I received was to generate something that was “mine.” I had done so much and created a name for myself under the guise of my job, though I didn’t have anything to take away with me when my time at that job concluded.

I decided to start a blog. I was already reading social media blogs regularly myself, but I hadn’t yet come across one geared specifically toward the hospitality industry. I was immersed (both online and in person) in the culture of social media, and fortunately, it came naturally. I also was an English major in college, so articulating things in writing wasn’t intimidating, either.

Nevertheless, as I began the process of creating my blog, I was overcome with fear. I’d settled on a theme, a name, and booked the URL, but it would eventually take me several months to unveil the site. I experienced a variety of hesitation, everything from fear of being held accountable to fear of judgment to fear of the time commitment.

After pre-penning several posts to populate the site, the blog Social Hospitality finally premiered in January 2011. It was a humbling period of trying to get used to having a legitimate web presence of my own, something I strongly desired to become a credible resource for other professionals in the same space as me.

A year later, I began notice the fruits of my labor paying off. I was contacted by a variety of people either commenting they found my content useful, asking if they could guest post, or wanting to hire me to help them with their own blogs or social media presences.

I enjoyed helping other people and the process of developing the brand. I began freelancing in addition to my full-time job and was able to build up a decent side hustle and savings. I ended up working at the marketing agency for six years, departing in early 2017 to focus on Social Hospitality full-time.

In the last 4.5 years, we’ve helped a huge variety of brands tell their stories online. This year, we’ve grown the team and taken on some of our most ambitious projects yet. It has been an exciting time of growth and evolution.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Overcoming fear was one of my biggest difficulties. There was a personal evolution that took place over time, and still, that made me more confident in my expertise. I used to be introverted when it came to speaking out in person, and now I can comfortably talk about business, social media, etc., and not worry that I sound like a novice. I learned to accept and own that the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired gives me something to offer others.

In addition to developing and owning my brand, I had to learn to run a business, save money and balance my finances, plus learn how to acquire and retain clients. I did that “on the side” for six years till I was comfortable enough to make the leap and commit 100%. Lately, as I’ve started growing my team, I’ve had to learn more about time and project management, how to manage all client expectations as well as my own tasks, other people, and theirs.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
At Social Hospitality, we offer digital marketing services tailored to you. Whether you want us to do the work for you or provide a plan of attack and training, we’re here to help passionate people and businesses develop their brand identities, create engaging content, and build their social media presence.

Based on a company’s individual needs, we will craft a custom marketing strategy to increase traffic, brand awareness, and revenue. We’ve heard from clients that others offer very specific services and aren’t adaptable to their specific needs. We strive to keep Social Hospitality a progressive company that crafts strategies and services to each client.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
My favorite memory from childhood is probably when I got my first job at a movie theater. It was my first taste of working and making friends outside of my regular school circles.

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