Blog / 4 Social Media Entrepreneurs on How They Found Success

4 Social Media Entrepreneurs on How They Found Success

It’s often assumed that the most successful social media practitioners have long, distinguished pedigrees in the social space.

But the eclectic list of “Why I Social” guests seems to suggest otherwise.

In this weekly podcast, host and social media/digital marketer @CBarrows speaks candidly with social media professionals, each with diverse experiences and backgrounds, to discover how they found success as social entrepreneurs and ultimately, why they social.

Tune into August’s episodes to meet four such characters and learn everything from the realities of entrepreneurship to the “shiny object syndrome” that commonly plagues the social media space.

Ep. 85: John Lee Dumas, founder of EOFire Business Podcasts

John Lee Dumas makes upwards of 7-figures a month from his daily podcasts. He fosters over a million listeners a month, as well as a large community of podcasters-in-training.

But 1,400 episodes ago, JLD had just retired from the Army. He’d dabbled in careers in law, corporate finance, and commercial real estate.

It wasn’t until his early 30s when JLD started listening to podcasts and wishing to create a different kind of podcast that didn’t yet exist.

“I loved the free on-demand, targeted content and just fell in love with the medium.” twitter

Lo and behold, JLD is now a “guru” in the podcasting world. He provides an ongoing series of valuable, consistent, and free content, using social media to nurture real audience-host relationships and to reach people outside of the “podcasters circle.”

Listen to his full “Why I Social Interview” to learn more out how he found his passion in podcasts, strategically built up his career, and still maximizes social media to grow his business.


Ep. 86: Benson Hendrix, SM Manager at University of New Mexico

Benson Hendrix attracted the largest crowd at this year’s eduWEb Digital Summit with his insightful presentation on second-screen storytelling.

A self-proclaimed “accidental” digital media guy, Benson stumbled into the digital media world after working as a journalist for 10 years, and flirting briefly with the idea of becoming an engineer.

Benson remains a gifted storyteller by trade. As social media manager for UNM, he tells rich stories about his institution through social media, and through the voices of student influencers.

“We as [higher ed] professionals serve more than one audience. We have students, but we also have alumni and faculty and staff and maybe legislatures who are paying attention to what we do online. What networks are they on, and how do we tell them the story of our institution—and not just in numbers?” twitter

View his full interview to learn about his journey to becoming a higher ed social marketer, in addition to joining a discussion around the art of digital storytelling.


Ep. 87: Jessica Bates, Self-Employed SM Freelancer

Jessica Bates is an alumni of the “Why I Social” ambassador program, now living the entrepreneur’s dream that’s equally mired with the entrepreneur’s challenges.

Jessica is a self-employed social media/digital strategist working with a number of clients whose line of work coincides with the digital boom.

Her own background is remarkably diverse – beginning with an undergraduate degree as a “female scribbler” (aka English), and then an MA in Liberal Studies, Social and Public Policy from Georgetown.

“There is absolutely nothing more important to me than the way in which we speak to each other.” twitter

Aside from being an avid reader and digital professional, Jessica remains a passionate activist who continues to explore the crossroads between social media and nonprofit causes.

Her conversation with Chris touches on this unique connection between philanthropy and social; the highs and lows of her entrepreneurial journey; and a fun banter over hypothetical barbeques with Joe Biden.


Ep. 88: Adam Leidhecker, Director of Social Strategy at Otto Radio

It’s not often that you run into someone who has ran 5 of his own startups, received one of the first-ever Shorty awards, and has been entrenched in social media since its very inception.

But all of this sums up Adam Leidhecker’s early career.

Having grown up in a family of business owners who modeled entrepreneurship, it wasn’t a far stretch for Adam to groom multiple businesses. Among them: an ebay-esque site, and a pet owner’s ecommerce site.

He was an early adopter of social media (think “prehistoric” Twitter in the early 2000s) when he didn’t have any marketing dollars—earning 90% of business organically from Twitter, and landing the 2009 Shorty Award for Best Business on Twitter.

“It was fun times ‘cause it was easier to connect, less noise, perhaps. [Today] you just have to get more creative, more authentic, and more meaningful about why. Why are you tweeting this? Why are you producing this?…How is it serving a need?” twitter

Learn about one of Adam’s biggest learning curves going from tactile manual to digital work, his current love for podcasts, and how he ended up receiving an award directly from the hands of MC Hammer.


Visit “Why I Social” for more interviews and podcasts.


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