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Meet Gary Clarke of GotChaDigi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary Clarke.

Gary, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started GotChaDigi – a Digital Boutique on a full-time basis in 2014 after a long career as an IT executive, architect & engineer. I have always wanted to be a full-time entrepreneur and in at that period was being forced to go down that part due to economic downturn after being laid off and not being able to find any executive management jobs in IT for a few years of trying.

Plus, I was recently divorced and had a shared custody of my two young daughters, so I wanted to have the flexibility to be home for them more often than I use to be as traveling executive for big corporations. Also, it provided me the flexibility to work out and train for my new passion of cycling and triathlons. Most importantly, I had come to realize that my industry was shrinking, with outsourcing and the opportunities were limited for me as an older execute. Also as a minority, that I needed to find a more open and different career path that allowed me the lifestyle, flexibility, and growth that I required in these times and years.

Most of my friends and family had been asking me about always being on social media, and my standard answer was and is, that I saw that Facebook and others were making billions, so there should be a slice of that pie there for me. I have always been an entrepreneur with side businesses or start-ups over the years. I have always been a self-start and self-learner of things and technology. I am that guy that every one of my family and friends calls to help fix their computer, phone, TV and now resolve any social media problem or challenge.

I started the LLC, GotChaDigi, after having run similar “I Can Fix It Today” and “Social Media Today” side businesses for many years while working full-time for Fortune 500 companies around the world. It being a digital boutique, as I call it, with the thought that I would combine all my talents, passions and skills – IT engineering & support, love photography, web design & development, and social media marketing and curation services. With the end goal of social media consultancy bringing all those skills into to focus to support small businesses in our community. I have had my ups and downs with small businesses and start-ups, so over the last year and a half, I focused on developing relationships with larger businesses. I have been very fortunate in the last couple years by leveraging relationships and focusing on social media agency services for a few universities in sports and entertainment and education primarily. A good friend once told me it doesn’t matter how you got your foot in the door, as long as you can keep in there and grow the footprint of your business.

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?
Not smooth at all. From convincing myself, friends & family that entrepreneur & social media consultancy/agency is a “real job”. Working from home and support my kids, with the accounts receivable challenges of small business and start-ups.

To switch over to larger customers that have long AP windows with different levels of understanding about the social media business and landscape. Trying to stay afloat with flaky customers and longer sales cycles.

Having traditional “9-5” friends that don’t understand nor care about the challenges of being a self-employed person. So having to change the circle of friends that have some level of understanding about being an entrepreneur.

Cash flow.

Working from home.

Kids and relationships.

Having customers that know they all need and want social media as part of their business and marketing plan(s), but have no real understanding or desire to undertake the requirements to make it a successful and important part of their business.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with GotChaDigi – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I provide Social Media Marketing, Branding, Consultancy, Execution, Photography & Videography & the technical skills and tools to support social media channels and campaigns. I provide digital graphic services, which include photo, video, and production of online content.

I setup and manage all social media channels for a client’s marketing and branding requirements. First, I consult and analysis the requirements of each client. Then I create a proposal and project plan estimate, that turns into a formal plan or MOU.

My proposals are based on hourly, project and retainer fees.

I then take ownership of their channels & profiles by first providing a branding overview and customization. Then I create and business an organic growth execution plan that could include the website, social media channels, email CRM and campaigns. I either curate content from stakeholders and influencers or create new content with event photos and/or videos, along with blogs and editorial writing. My business is largely based on “trust”, as I have unique access to their online presence and it is important to have someone that you can trust on both sides.

For example, I handle all of a universities social media for its basketball team, which includes its coaching staff and players. I work closely with the Athletic department’s communication and marketing team to develop campaigns and content. I always am part of the student athlete’s recruitment team that discuss the social media branding and transition from high school, college, pro-career (hopefully) and after their professional aspirations after their playing does are over.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I want to expand GotChaDigi Social Media Agency to more sports entities and hire more specialist like myself to support the branding opportunities. In addition, provide video production services specifically for social media platforms and channels to support wider client bases in sports and entertainment.

Eventually expanding into a sports and entertainment agency, that either becomes or partners with a PR and sports management agency company.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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