We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Christina Hager. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Christina below.
Alright, Christina thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Are you happier as a business owner? Do you sometimes think about what it would be like to just have a regular job?
I never in my life imagined that I would be a business owner. I didn’t think I had the entrepreneurial “gene,” nor did I think I would ever have a big idea that would influence me to start my own business.
However, now, I honestly can’t imagine my life any other way. Being my own boss has its positives and negatives of course. I find the good FAR outweighs the bad.
I love my sense of work-life balance. I have two small children at home, and love spending time with them. I am open and honest with clients that most days, I leave work at 3 or 4 to spend time with them afters school, eat dinner, and put them to bed. The tradeoff is that I work again most nights after they are in bed. When many of my friends are hitting the gym or binging a Netflix show with their partners, I’m back at work. AND THAT’S OKAY! I find that I’m super creative at night, so this is when I get a lot of my content creation and writing done. It’s also sometimes an uninterrupted time to knock out things like payroll or scheduling.
I am able to attend class plays, take my kids to the doctor, duck out for lunch with my husband, go for an hour walk around the lake–whatever I need to.
Having this control of my schedule is so freeing to me, and I can’t imagine being on someone else’s clock. It makes me better at my job, and better available for my clients.
There are so many times I’ve said to myself or my husband “I could never have done this if I didn’t have my own business.” For instance, during the pandemic, my MIL moved in with us while dealing with health issues. She was there with us 15 months, and between Covid and her health challenges, it felt like every day was a game of Russian roulette and we never knew what it had in store for us.
There is really no way we would have been able to give her the care she needed, take care of our baby., and also keep our other child at home during these months if I didn’t have the business owner.
I am so, so grateful for this experience.
The freedom also allows me to take on projets that are special or meaningful to me. While, of course, I have to be in charge of the bottom line for the business, we can be flexible to work with nonprofits or exciting thought leaders at all stages.
Lastly, I am able to give this same autonomy and freedom to my team. Our team is 100% virtual, and we always have been. Many people on the team don’t work well with the traditional 9-5 life, for a variety of reasons: they like to travel, they are juggling family issues, they have another creative career and need work to support that, or they have their own responsibilities and projects. Or they just don’t want to sit in an office all day for normal work hours! I feel really lucky that we can provide them with the opportunities to live the life they want while still doing meaningful work.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I spent the first 10 years of my professional life as an opera singer. No really! I sang all over the United States and had a wonderful career.
I use that same storytelling and knowledge of connection with my clients today. At the end of the day, singing, marketing, and social media are all about connection. That is what drives someone to follow you, to subscribe to your blog, to set up a meeting, or ultimately, buy your product.
Ovations Digital is a social media and digital strategy company. We provide individuals, businesses, brands, and organizations with a way to use social media strategically while meeting their business goals.
Many people-even in marketing!-often see social media as a “chore” or something that they “have to do,” but they miss opportunities because they aren’t strategic in their efforts. Instead, they just post things and don’t see an ROI to their efforts, which is frustrating.
We view social media as another business function–it needs to tie into business goals, have a strategy with tactics for execution, and of course, have a way to measure the results.
We work with people both in the B2B and B2C spaces, as well as business leaders and nonprofits.
Our support takes the weight off your online shoulders and gives you time to focus on business development and initiatives.
Our clients include the following industries health and wellness, executive and change advisory, beauty, skincare, business consulting and career services, e-commerce, luxury goods, not-for-profits, and the performing arts.
We also work with individuals from entrepreneurs to executives from Fortune 500 companies.
We also provide speaking and training. I’m a frequent speaker on social media, and often hired to speak and present on the relationship between a Board and social media, organic versus paid social, and building thought leadership through a digital footprint. We often go into organizations with sales teams to present and train them to better use their social media for client-facing opportunities.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
My background as a performer left me unafraid to “market myself”–but I also wanted my skills to shine and for people to understand what I had to offer, and WHY they needed social media training, strategy, and content.
The best thing I ever did was to start to speak on the subject of social media. I was approached by a colleague who wanted me to present to a board about how the board members could better use social media.
From that one presentation, I was able to create several more. I started getting hired to speak on social media trends, digital marketing, how CEOs could use social media, how small business owners could teach social media, etc.
I started teaching a series of classes for business owners and marketers alike on how to better use social for their organizations.
Each and every single one of those opportunities led to meetings, clients, and a reputation as a thought leader in the area of social media. Plus they were fun!
I have a just say YES attitude when it comes to opportunities like this. Of course, you need to know your worth and value your time (so that doesn’t mean giving away work or time for free) but there are times when it makes sense to make a sacrifice or commit yourself to something different because of the conversations you will have. and the relationships you will make.
After I started speaking, I also started writing. This just looked like LinkedIn articles or blog posts, but then I was approached by the Forbes Communication Council to join and start writing for them.
After that, there were podcasts inquiries.
The more I said ‘yes” the more clients and opportunities came into my life.
I’ve expanded this “yes attitude” to lunches and coffees, time to give advice, mentoring to younger professionals, and even conversations and mentoring to kids still in school who are thinking about marketing as a career.
This yes mindset has truly brought the best of all things into my life, and helped me to build my business.
It also helps keep me grounded, and helps me to give back.
Any thoughts, advice, or strategies you can share for fostering brand loyalty?
Relationships and connection are at the heart of everything I do for my clients and for my business.
Word of mouth and referrals still remains the strongest way I get my clients. Keeping in touch with them is important because they are important to me!
The best thing to do is to develop real relationships with your clients. Have authentic conversations. Don’t just launch into business: actually talk WITH your clients.
Ask them about what is going on in their lives, what they did this weekend, how their kid off at college is doing. Send them a card or cupcakes for a milestone birthday. And talk about what YOU have going on in your life.
Stay professional, of course….but when you are open and honest with clients and really get to know them as people, it makes work more enjoyable, and both parties feel more valued.
I always try and acknowledge our “anniversary” working together, thank them, send a meaningful gift for New Years, and give them facetime.
Also, if they have a friend or colleague or family member who needs some advice or a conversation–do it! Take off your “billable hours” hat and give your clients and their networks some time, knowledge, and advice. They will remember you for it, and it’s just the right thing to do!
- Website: https://ovationsdigital.com/
- Instagram: @ovationsD
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OvationsDigital
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ovations-digital/?viewAsMember=true
- Twitter: @ovationsD
- Other: You can follow Christina at: Twitter: @ChristinaMHager LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinahagerovationsdigital/