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The Start of Shelby & Company, INC.

Listen to the full podcast episode here:

Shelby started out in real estate, getting her license right out of high school. She got this start through being an assistant to a realtor during high school. Shelby’s line of thinking was to start making money right away, instead of delaying her entry into the business world with college. This was all in 2012.

Shelby hit the roadblock of potential customers wanting to work with realtors that were more seasoned, rather than an 18-year-old right out of high school. Because of the lack of clients coming Shelby’s way, she found it hard to sustain herself amongst desk fees and the cost of living in general.

In need of money and with extra time on her hands, Shelby started teaching Zumba on the side. Shelby has found a love for Zumba through doing it with her mom earlier in life. This was a fun way for Shelby to be able to get out and about, while earning some much needed cash. Shelby taught Zumba at various studios and even country clubs. While there she made some strong connections with class participants. Shelby was able to sustain doing ten classes a week. She made considerably more money doing Zumba classes than she did real estate, but still kept her license for a couple years.

In Shelby’s entire time doing real estate, she only sold one house at only $2500 commission. She remembers the process with the buyers being super long and drawn out, but remembers a feeling of accomplishment being able to put an amount over $1000 in her bank account. It had been a goal of hers to put more than $1000 in her bank account, because she had never done that before.

Simultaneously, Shelby partnered with someone she knew doing a window tint shop. This is when Shelby got into marketing and noticed what aspects of advertising worked and didn’t work. Now, this was still back in 2012-2013, when social media was present, but wasn’t used very widely for business purposes.

Back then, marketing was more yellow pages ads, craigslist ads, networking events, chamber ribbon cuttings, etc. The more in person types of marketing helped Shelby become the face of the business. The tint shop even ran a few TV ads, hoping to reach an even wider audience. Their more old-school marketing strategy was working, helping the business grow to 6 figures within the first year. This helped them expand to a new location, hire new employees, etc.

Around then, Shelby created a friend profile for the tint shop on Facebook. Then in 2015, Facebook came out with what they would call Fan Pages, which is what we use for business now. When they did this, they gave page owners a 24 hour window to get everything changed over to a Fan Page, or else it was lost.

This started a new learning curve for Shelby that she quickly mastered. She was telling customers of the tint shop to follow, how to tag the tint shop, how to leave reviews, etc. Shelby understood the value of co-marketing and tapped into that asset really early on, and it’s still important today.

Shelby started doing graphics for friends that owned other businesses, or she would make promo items for them to use to promote their business, and even did business cards and logos. Shelby helped others develop an online presence for their business through social media.

Once Shelby split from the window tint shop, she realized she didn’t want to work for anyone else but knew she had this talent for marketing a business digitally. In 2016 she started a business called Expose Marketing and Branding Agency. In this business she offered social media management for small businesses.

Not knowing the worth of what she was offering, Shelby put out relatively low prices for her services. Whatever her client's budget was, she always said yes. At the same time, she was selling Herbalife because she wasn’t making much money with the agency. She made just enough to pay her bills and feed herself.

Fast forward to now, Expose has now been rebranded as Shelby & Company, INC. to be more easily recognized with her name. She wanted to communicate that this company was her. At the same time, she owned a sign shop to make her business a one stop shop for anything a business needs for marketing.

Shelby says that one of the best things she ever did was rebranding her business to reflect herself, making it easier to co-market with her personal brand. Shelby has serviced over 400 clients both in and out of Arkansas since 2016.

She recalls that her original clients got super cheap prices, but that now she charges more for her services because of the experience she has gained over the years. Shelby was able to see what marketing was before social media and how it has now evolved into something that's super relevant to any business.

Shelby’s advice is to not lose sight of what marketing once was, as in-person marketing will always have a place in business along with an online presence. But in terms of marketing on social media, Shelby & Company, INC. is here to help! We can help you with anything from branding, to social media, to websites, to graphic design.

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