Daniela Behler, Owner of Engaging Social Media, has built a business around helping her clients understand the importance of social media and how it can be used as an effective marketing tool. She conducts Facebook workshops, partners with local promoters to do event promotions, such as New Year's on Main Street, and even works one-on-one with different businesses to help them set up and drive traffic to their Facebook pages. Daniela has been using social media since 2006. Back then, most people weren't too familiar with it and very few had any idea how to utilize it as a marketing tool. The thought of turning that knowledge into a business didn't happen until 2013, but as Daniela emphasized during our interview, "It's never too late to start something new."
"Before Engaging Social Media, I spent 27 years in the salon industry," she said. "I was a hair dresser and worked my way up to management. I eventually opened my own salon in Ormond Beach with a good friend of mine. The reality fell short of expectations and the partnership ended up being a bad fit. In order to keep the friendship, we decided to split. He continued with the business and I went looking for a new opportunity." This was a scary proposition for someone that spent her entire adult life in the salon industry. Daniela wasn't sure what to do and spent some time looking at a few different options. "I looked at opening a new salon in Palm Coast, but I didn't really have a client base in that area and there were already plenty of salons," she said. "I did the marketing for my salon and another one I previously worked at and so I thought maybe I could find a marketing job." After six months of interviews and nothing to show for it, she was feeling less than optimistic about her outlook. That's when a chance encounter at a local Panera changed everything.
"I met this woman at Panera. She was talking about her business and trying to get her social media accounts set up and seemed completely overwhelmed," said Daniela. "I said I could help her out and that's when it clicked. Why not help business owners with social media," she thought. From that first opportunity came a referral to a networking group full of mom and pop type businesses that needed Daniela's expertise. "I spent the next two years really figuring out how to cultivate new business. I did a lot of work for very little money as I learned more and more about social media marketing and how to make it work for my clients. I met great people along the way and learned about running a business from some incredible mentors. I did mastermind classes with very successful people and over time, I learned how to put it all together. I now get to do what I'm passionate about and make a living doing it," she said.
Another thing Daniela is passionate about is Anti-Bullying. She explained, "I've sponsored numerous things to help that campaign. Right now I'm working on putting a Buddy Bench in every Volusia and Flagler County School. A Buddy Bench is a place where a kid that feels alone can get some company and possibly make a new friend. We want to teach kids that there are people that care about them and that they do have worth in spite of their broken home or circumstances. We'd like to get groups and/or private individuals to sponsor these benches. We eventually hope to have kids earn the privilege to be a buddy."
Daniela's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? "Get involved," she said. "I did a year at each of the local chambers until I found the one that gave me the best return on my investment. It's important to get involved in all the networking opportunities and after hour events. By getting so involved, I've had more growth in the past two years than I've had since I started." She also recommends the book, Four Things That Matter Most: A Book about Living by Ira Byock and the teachings of Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur, author and speaker.