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Meet Kelly Shogren of Make Waves

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Shogren.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kelly. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
It’s so hard to decipher where my business story actually begins. I think to paint the full picture it makes sense to go back to college where my desire to make social media my career began.

I attended Loyola Marymount University and studied marketing. I had the privilege of taking a few M-School courses in the first year that LMU introduced this incredible program to the Business School. The M-School curriculum focuses on what they call the 4Cs—Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication—to equip students with the skills to be future proof and real-world ready.

The course content is always current, courses are co-taught by industry professionals, and classes are often held at a nearby leading agency. Having taken some of these courses, it really ignited my interest in the advertising industry and opened a lot of doors for me through the network I was able to establish through the people I met via M-School.

After graduation, I began working at a boutique digital agency in Culver City. We were a small team which enabled me to have a lot of autonomy and responsibility pretty quickly into my time with them. I was the account manager for Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill throughout all of greater Los Angeles area. This was probably my favorite client because about twice a month we’d go to a restaurant to shoot content and naturally, get to eat all the food after!

I also was the account manager for Belkin + Linksys. In this role, I would be on-site in the Belkin corporate office in Playa Vista every Friday. I enjoyed this role because it gave me a taste of what working in-house for a brand could be like. Eventually, my time at this agency ran it’s course, as most entry-level jobs do.

My next career move was something that drastically changed my trajectory and really the biggest reason I’m in the position I am today. I ended up moving to Santa Catalina, Panama (a tiny surfing and fishing village on the Pacific coast of Panama) in late 2015. I took what was supposed to be a 3-month gig managing an artistic hotel and ended up meeting my now husband! When the gig at the hotel was ending, I knew I wanted to make staying in Panama a possibility because well, love. However, in order to make that a reality I needed a job that could support it.

After a few months of searching, I landed a remote social media account manager role at an agency based out of New York. The founder had an amazing personal resume and was someone I truly learned so much from. During my time there, I had the opportunity to manage some incredible national brands like Kopari Beauty and Rao’s Homemade.

I truly gained invaluable experience. However, after a few years, the lack of work-life balance really started to wear on me and ultimately became something I decided I couldn’t do anymore. When I left the role, I had no job lined up and no clear picture of what I wanted to do next. It was at this time that I began freelancing in order to generate some sort of income while I was applying to new roles.

Before I knew it, I found myself in a position of needing to turn work away, and that’s when I decided to simply go for it! Make Waves is a few months away from celebrating our one year anniversary, and we are now a team of four, managing about ten retainer clients and a couple of consulting clients!

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?
Luckily, I haven’t experienced any massive challenges, I think most of what I’ve faced is “normal” for anyone starting their own business. There’s a lot of frustration in the admin side of it. Naturally, I’m a creative person by trade, but it’s imperative to understand all the business stuff when it’s your own, so there was definitely a learning curve when it came to setting up my books, tracking expenses, forecasting, taxes, etc.

I think the singular biggest struggle was and still is self-doubt. When I feel the imposter syndrome thoughts creeping in, I really do my best to remind myself I deserve to be here just as much as the next person. I’ve put in the time, have the necessary experience, and am always expanding my knowledge and education. However, I really owe it to my support system for helping me through the self-doubt.

My husband is my biggest cheerleader and always champions me through tough times. I also have some incredible friends who are so accomplished and inspiring in their own careers, and they’ve all been so generous with their time and support. Oh and of course my mom, we talk at least once a day, and she’s always there for me when I need to vent it out.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Make Waves – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Make Waves is a social media agency that helps brands optimize their digital presence and maximize their organic brand exposure online. We specialize in emerging businesses ready to grow their social to build their brand awareness.

I think what I am most proud of as a company is our capability and willingness to truly become a part of our client’s team. We view ourselves as an extension of their brand and work really hard to ensure we’re always remaining innovative and showcasing their product or service in the coolest and most strategic ways across social media.

I think this is also what sets us apart from others. In my previous agency roles, I always felt stifled by the contracted scope and what I was permitted to do for accounts. At Make Waves, we have a sliding scope with all our clients to ensure that we can provide them the best possible service in order to achieve their goals.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My vision for Make Waves is always evolving. We work with some pretty incredible emerging brands who are making waves in their respective industries, and we love being a part of telling their story on social and creating a bigger swell.

Ultimately, the goal is to create connections in every way shape and form. We’re currently working on creating a community for women who make waves in their business lives and one day we hope to open a coworking space with the same ideology.

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