Jen Singleton talks about her experience as a business owner
a woman who is the most respected or prominent person in a particular field
What is Socially Jen + Co?
Socially Jen + Co is a digital marketing and communications agency dedicated to creating meaningful marketing. Through influencer marketing , social media communication and website development, Socially Jen + Co ensures that businesses, large and small, are compelling and authentic.
“As a digital marketing + communications agency, Socially Jen + Co was founded on the belief that meaningful marketing starts with hard work and great people. We aim to elevate your marketing plan through creative strategic planning, thoughtful content, and strong execution”.
How did Socially Jen + Co get its start?
I really found my passion while studying Media Communications at Webster University where I got my degree. In 2011, I started helping my friend Cyndi Willenbrock tell her story of Marshall the Miracle Dog. Cyndi and Marshall inspired kids with an anti-bullying message. This compassionate cause made me realize that I was ready for something new”.
In an economy where many were building their own niche within the job market, Jen was inspired to plan out her business in her spare time. Working with Cyndi made her realize that she wanted to start a business in marketing, but in a meaningful and compassionate way.
“It took a leap of faith and a lot of prayer to leave my full time job. Logistically I sold my car that I was making payments on and bought a different car that I paid for in cash so I could eliminate that high monthly payment. I didn’t want my family to be burdened by asking them for loans.” I also did a lot of small jobs, I walked a lot of dogs. My passion for these furry friends played a large roll in my beginning stages. One of my first solo projects was helping Mike Bizelli put on a Photo exhibit documenting animal abuse and recovery called Cruelty to Compassion.”
Mike is a volunteer photographer for the Humane Society and would document animal neglect and abuse but also the moments of rescue and their road to recovery. You can read more about that project here.
Was there a business hurdle you had to overcome?
“I would have to say the biggest hurdle was realizing that I wasn’t using my talents to their full potential at my corporate job. It took a lot of courage, and honestly a lot of prayer, to make the switch. I got out there and I hustled a lot. I attended tons of networking events at the CIC. I called up Alive Magazine to offer my services to put together gift bags. I did a lot of cold calling. I reached out to Billy Goat chips because I love their product. That call led to an in-person meeting. Four years later, they’re still a client of ours.”
How is your business different from what you expected when you started?
“It took about 6 months to a year for that leap of faith I took to stop being so scary. After a while people would ask me what my business name was and I would sort of jokingly say, ‘I don’t know, Socially Jen’. I never expected this to become a full-fledged business. I just thought it would be something I would take on as a freelancer.”
Do you have any favorite memories about the creation of Socially Jen and Co.?
“One of my favorite moments regarding the business involved meeting my now business partner, Alicia Underwood. We met at New York Fashion week at an influencer event that Alive Media had put on. It was a super exciting event and Alicia and I just clicked. She had her own marketing company and after talking for a bit we decided it made a whole lot of sense to join forces. It’s been so helpful. Now that it is a full-fledged business I have a team of rock stars that I couldn’t do this without.”
“My favorite moment was definitely when Jen asked me to her business partner. I was a little hesitant as first as I was burnt from a previous business relationship but something about Jen made me wanted to go forward with it. I’m glad I did because this is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made” – Alicia Underwood
Shoutout to Becky Lairson: Communications Manager Aily Rischar: Accountant and Courtney Valdivia: Social Media Manager, and a few other incredible freelancers.
We are super into one of Socially Jen + Co’s projects called, “Bit-O-Local”. Subscribers receive a quarterly box full of local goodies created by makers in Saint Louis. It is a genius way to spread the word about local businesses. I am currently a subscriber and it is SO cool! It’s like a Saint Louis crafty boutique was sent right to my door. I have used and gifted all of the items that have been sent. It is an awesome deal at $25 a box. I also love that it has a bio of each local maker. Jen tells us that there are only 2 subscriptions left, so if you are interested in receiving Bit-O-Local, GET ON IT! You can also buy individual items at www.bitolocal.com