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Meet Audrey Buchanan of Let’s Bee Social in Santa Ana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Audrey Buchanan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
If you asked me five years ago if I would be interested in owning my own business, I probably would have laughed at the idea. The thing is, I never planned on owning my own business but I have always been really passionate about helping others find success. After graduating from the Public Relations program at SDSU, I knew I had a knack for social media management and blogging. I was blessed to find an entry-level position that would eventually help me hone in on the skills that I’ve used to build my company today.

I found a mentor in my first boss, Jason Hennessey, an all-around entrepreneur who had just started a new venture in the SEO space here on the West Coast. He took a chance on me, took me under his wing and created a role where I was able to harness both my skillset and my passion.

After a year and a half with Hennessey Consulting, I found myself enthralled with the type of work I was doing, but feeling unfulfilled with the types of clients the agency aligned with. I’ve always had a heart for the underdog. I love small businesses, family-owned and operated companies and local entrepreneurs trying to make it doing what they love. I knew something needed to change, but I wasn’t quite ready to pull the trigger just yet.

That was until I had an eye-opening, life-changing experience. I took a trip up to Portland, Oregon to visit one of my childhood friends and while I was there, I got hit by a car while riding a public bike in the city. I came out of the accident unscathed, just a few bruises and a minor concussion. But upon returning home, I was experiencing severe headaches (due to the concussion) which was making it extremely difficult to work. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I took a good look in the mirror and decided, you know what? Life is too short to not do what you love. So, I put in my two weeks and decided to take the leap into freelance work.

I knew I still wanted to continue pursuing digital marketing, but I wanted to have control over the types of clients I was working with. I started putting the word out to anyone and everyone I knew about the types of services I could provide and set up an UpWork profile to start looking for work outside my network. I quickly secured a part-time marketing position through UpWork, took on a personal assistant job to supplement some income and really started looking for more clients that I could work with one-on-one. I didn’t care what it took, I knew that I wasn’t going back to corporate America. I spent the first six months designing a website a month, networking like crazy and building my own brand while still working two other part-time jobs. And the truth is, I loved every minute of it. Yes, it was hard, and half the time I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve learned A LOT of things the hard way. From contracts to billing, to workflow management and pretty much everything in between. But I can look at the business I have today and proudly say, this is something I made with my own two hands.

Not to say that I did this all on my own, because I don’t think that’s fair to the incredible support system that has been by my side all these years. My mentor Jason Hennessey, my first clients who were friends that took a chance on me, my mom who has always been my rock, and the number of team members that have come in and out over the years. They say you are who you surround yourself with, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by entrepreneurial minded individuals, a mom who doubles as my #1 fan and a team that saw my vision and willingly came alongside me to push it forward.

I remember the moment when I really knew that Let’s Bee Social was going to be more than just a name for a freelance business. I was about a year in, I had quit my personal assistant position and was working on client accounts full-time, with part of that work being from a boutique digital marketing agency out in Palm Springs. I was ready to grow out of that and have my own client base, so I hired my first intern to help with the workflow. Having the opportunity to provide someone else with a chance to earn money, grow in their marketing talents and still continue pursuing my own passions was when my mentality towards the potential I had with Let’s Bee Social pivoted.

Fast forward another 6-8 months, my business was scaling rapidly and I was able to bring on another intern to help with account work. Two years in, it was sink or swim time. I decided to pull my safety net and ended my partnership with the digital marketing agency in Palm Springs and went forward with all my own client relationships. I was terrified. But I knew it was time and even though there were a number of setbacks, we came out on top. It’s basically been a rollercoaster of ups and downs ever since.

I’m now 4.5 years in and honestly, I’m still just getting started. I’m learning and growing every single day. I’ve been blessed with incredible opportunity to work with business owners in almost every industry out there and not only that but I’ve had the opportunity to begin offering classes to help empower entrepreneurs to become digital marketing self-starters.

I always wanted Let’s Bee Social to be more than just service focused, I wanted it to be impact-driven. I was approached by Skillshare back in 2018 to begin offering digital marketing classes on their platform and have since had the opportunity to help nearly 700 aspiring marketers from all corners of the world learn the ins and out of the field. I hope to have a non-profit sector one day as well, but I’ll save that for another time.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been anything but a smooth road, but isn’t that what starting a business is all about? I’ve been left high and dry on contracts, blamed for things that weren’t my fault, have bitten off way more than I can chew, the list goes on and on. But If I had to give one specific struggle I would say that being a sole proprietor has been the biggest obstacle.

I am surrounded by a ton of really inspiring, entrepreneurial people who all warned me about the ups and downs of running a business, and even though I knew that I’d eventually hit a low point, I still wasn’t ready for it. About two years in, things finally started slowing down for a bit and I went into a panic. I didn’t know where my next client would come from, I started doubting if I was really cut out for this job and it was at this low that I learned what I was really made of. I had to make a choice right then and there – quit and take the easy way out (in my case, going to work for a digital marketing agency ie. getting a 9-5) or fight for what I know I was meant to do. Having faith in God, knowing that the vision for this business is something that I know came from Him, has really helped keep me grounded and going forward. If it’s meant to fail, it will fail, but I’m not going down without a fight.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Let’s Bee Social – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Founded in 2016, Let’s Bee Social Digital Marketing was created with one goal in mind: to help passionate business owners hone in on their online presence. Present day, Let’s Bee Social offers a full range of digital marketing services including SEO, content creation, social media marketing, brand consulting and development, photography, graphic design and basically anything else you may need to grow your business’s online presence.

Although we love all aspects of Digital Marketing, we truly specialize in Social Media Management, Content Creation and Brand Consulting. And we are focused on 100% organic methods. None of our strategies are AD focused. Organic or bust.

The two things I’m most proud of:

1. I’ve always stayed true to my vision and goal: to work with people who are passionate about what they do. My business has been and always will be small business focused. That is something that will never change.

2. Our Client retention is incredible. I have clients that have been with me since I started and the bulk of our client roster is packed clients who have been with us for at least a year. I love building long term relationships with our clients. They become like family to us and being that they are family-focused, I truly value that bond.

What Makes us Different: We treat your business like it’s our own. We are genuinely invested in your success and we will go above and beyond to help you reach your online marketing goals. Whatever our clients define as success becomes our goal.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I hope to expand the education and non-profit sectors of the business. Our service-based sector is doing great, we are continuing to grow but I believe that the national and even global impact that Let’s Bee Social is going to have is going to be through these alternative avenues. The teaching sector currently exists as we have three classes we offer through Skillshare, but we are working on adding at least two more. Ideally, the non-profit sector will focus on providing mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded youth. We want to give back to the communities that have given us this opportunity and we have a heart for helping the youth find success in their future.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Victor Hernandez

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