Every month, we are showing our support to an Entrepreneur that inspires us by spotlighting them and their brands. We want to know their successes, their struggles, how they got started and how they tackle it all.
Entrepreneur: Jen Sukhan
Brand Name: Sukhan Social Media
First, let’s talk about your business:
1. Tell us about your business, how long you’ve been building it and what you offer.
I have been in the online space since January 2019, and started learning about marketing in the online space. Sukhan Social Media was officially legal in December 2019 and it's run by myself, as well as my husband Dennis. I’m definitely the face of the business, but he is an important piece of our brand as he is very strategic and thinks things through big picture, which are great skills to have when wanting to grow and scale.
We offer full service, done for you social media marketing, strategy or consulting sessions, coaching at various levels, and we have a course and resource materials in our digit shop that help support business owners with making an impact with their marketing.
2. How did you get started?
Towards the end of 2019 I found out that I was really passionate about social media and saw the opportunity to tie in my love of people with that. I also saw that many businesses needed that marketing support because that was not in their zone of genius and they didn’t know where to start or didn’t have the time or desire to learn and implement. With everything going on in the last few months, things have been thriving because business owners are seeing the need to get into the online space to survive when their brick and mortar doors are closed and there is so much opportunity to bring visibility to your brand in the online space that you might not get otherwise.
3. What is your mission, and how has it evolved over time?
My mission has always been to create an impact both locally and internationally for businesses. There is so much to know when it comes to social media, and things are constantly evolving, so having someone in your back pocket to keep you up to date and guide you has always been important to me. I also strive to take the overwhelm away from my clients. Most times they don’t make their money from spending time on social media but it’s a critical part in bringing more brand awareness, so my goal is always to give the same care and concern to their businesses that I would my own.
4. What are some goals for the business? Where do you see it in 5 years?
I’d like to be able to grow this business to create not only an impact locally, but across North America. I want to be able to create a big impact with business on social media that allows for consistency, follow through and really allowing people to connect with those brands. I look forward to it scaling and being able to continue to provide support to new social platforms as they continue roll out. I look forward to expanding the roles within our agency to be able to help more businesses.
5. As a social media expert, do you specialize in one platform, or have you mastered them all?
My specialty, and favourite place to show up on social media, is Instagram and Clubhouse. Our agency provides support for Facebook, as well as LinkedIn, and we’re always adapting and introducing new platforms depending on our client’s needs. I’m a firm believer that you need to do something well first before you expand out, rather than doing something half assed, all over the place, and not making the greatest impact possible. Not every platform is going to be for every business, so mapping out the strategy and where they should be is key for our clients.
6. When you began, what was your target market? Has it changed over the years?
My ideal client has always been female business owners. I’m very much of the mindset that there is a lot of power behind women leaders. I primarily work with women in both service and product based businesses, but we also work with men. At the end of the day, what’s important to me is that we’re a good fit for each other based on what we offer, and the goals they’re looking to achieve because every dollar matters when you’re a business owner.
7. What do you find is the best way to communicate with your audience and build credibility?
Results are a great way to build credibility. When someone is looking to solve a problem, they also look to see what it’s done for other people. As humans we’re naturally curious to know if what worked for someone could also work for us (think about checking yelp or amazon reviews) so showcasing results/testimonials from clients can help. It’s also important to talk about what you’ve done to get those results. So often people will talk about what they’ve learned but there is a big difference in actually applying that knowledge and yielding results. I’m a big proponent of practicing what I preach and I won’t ever tell my clients to do something that I wouldn’t personally do.
8. As a service provider, it can be hard to price your services, and some will complain no matter what price you set it as. Have you dealt with people questioning your prices and if so, how do you deal with that?
I think no matter what industry you’re in someone is always going to fail to see the value in what you offer. So it’s our job to showcase ourselves as the expert and share why what we offer is valuable and is going to help them. What people can forget is that while it may take me a short amount of time to get something done, it’s because that is my zone of genius. If I were to cut my dog’s hair it would take me way longer and I would do a horrible job compared to taking it to a groomer who does that day in and out. The other component to price is that no only are you paying for the service, but you’re paying for my expertise and that fact that I’m up to date on what’s going on. People can overlook that piece of the pricing.
9. When starting out, what would you say was the most important thing you did to grow your business?
I built relationships with people. I don’t know where this started, but people think they can show up, slap a photo on their social media and think people will come running. In today’s day and age, there are so many options of service providers who do the same thing, but when it comes down to it people do business with people. If you can create relationships with people and build that know, like and trust you’ll become top of mind when they’re looking for support in that area. I don’t mean just creating relationships with people who could directly be your clientele, but with people who might do something that’s in relation to what you do or even people outside your industry who help the same target market.
10. What are some of the mistakes you wish you could have avoided in the beginning?
I wish I would have guidance on how to start a business from someone who had walked that path and asked more questions. One mistake I made in the beginning was not looking to see if the business name I wanted was taken. So I picked the name, had the branding done and then someone said “did you register your name” and I was like well shoot, I didn’t. So naturally when I went to look for it, it was taken. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know and finding someone who can guide us so we can take some of that trial and error out of it can be so key.
11. Have you ever turned down working with a client or partner? How did you do it and why?
I will always take the time to see if something that could be a good fit, however, sometimes what the goal of a particular business owner is does not fit within my zone of genius and I would be doing them a disservice with the results if I were to take that on. That is why relationship is so important because I can often connect them to someone else who would be a good fit for their needs.
12. Do you have a personal brand, as well as a business brand? What influenced your decision?
I personally do not. What you see on Sukhan Social Media is what you get. I truly believe it’s important for people to be able to connect with the person/people behind the brand because people ultimately buy and connect with other people. This may change down the road as our business grows, but for now I feel that it’s important for people to see what it’s like to work with me. To see that is going to be the right fit for what they’re looking for. There is nothing worse than seeing someone on social media faking it, you think you know the person and then you move forward to work with them and it’s a completely different situation. I’m a believer in transparency, so that is what you get.
13. How do you want your brand to make people feel? What's your message?
I want people to feel a sense of familiarity with our brand. Familiarity is what helps create that instant connection and builds that level of trust even quicker.
Now, let’s focus on you as an Entrepreneur:
14. Is the business we’ve been talking about your only venture?
I’ve had other side gigs when I was in my 9-5 that were more affiliate marketing and MLMs, which I still dabble in, but Sukhan Social Media is my first full time venture.
15. Do you still hold another job, or do you focus on the business full time?
I’ve been full time in my business from the beginning. I was very fortunate to step away from my corporate role and dive into social media full time. It was a lot of work, I could have definitely mapped things out better, but I believe that’s what’s pushed me to work so hard because there was no back up plan. I was fortunate to have a supportive husband and business partner who believed in me and backed me 1000%.
16. What made you decide to become an Entrepreneur, or have you always had that passion?
I’ve always wanted to be an Entrepreneur. My original vision was to own a Tim Horton’s but when I looked at the investment and the type of lifestyle we wanted, we didn’t want to have to be tied to a physical location, but have the flexibility and freedom to travel and work from anywhere. I’ve always had a strong work ethic, I’ve always been the employee who goes above and beyond to get the job done correctly so I took that leap of faith and bet on myself and make it happen. I also come from a long line of Entrepreneurs so maybe there is something in my genes?
17. What would you say your favourite part of Entrepreneurship is?
The flexibility and freedom. While there are some days that are longer, I now have the choice on when my work gets done, how long I work. If I need to go to an appointment, I no longer have to ask permission. If we want to vacation, we only have one employer to have to work with. I also get to see my husband way more. He works shift work, so there were many weeks where we were two ships passing in the night. I love having the ability to spend time with him on his off time.
18. What do you attribute your success to, and how do you tackle adversity?
Continue to get back up whenever I get knocked down. Learning how to work through tough situations and appreciate our failures is key. You learn so much more when you’re backed into the corner than you do when things are running smoothly. As an Entrepreneur, one skill I really believe that leads to success is being able to adapt and pivot. Things can change on a dime, so being able to assess the situation and adapt is critical.
19. What would a "day-in-the-life" be life for you? What habits help you succeed daily?
My day starts out with a vanilla latte. No ifs, ands or buts. I take time to enjoy that and really wrap my brain around what needs to happen for the day. I do a workout, have breakfast and then hit the ground running with client check-ins and work. I personally like to get my client stuff done early in the day because that allows me to adapt should something unexpected come up that needs to be addressed. I spend time with my community in the online spaces daily. From there I fill things in depending on what upcoming deadlines. Depending on the day or week or what Dennis is working, I will work anywhere from 3-10 hours a day. Sometimes you just get on a really great creative roll and so I continue on.
20. What is the biggest struggle you've had to overcome as an Entrepreneur? How do you get through it?
Worrying about what other people were saying. No matter how good you are, there is always going to be someone who isn’t your fan and you’ve got to be ok with that. Sometimes people can say things that are hurtful out of intention or even unintentionally, so learning to filter out some of that noise is key. You don’t go to your accountant for plumbing advise, so learning to take those remarks or comments with a grain of salt and figuring out a way for them not to deter you from your mission is key. I’m not saying it’s always easy, but having someone you trust as a sounding board can be really helpful during those times.
21. What are 3 pieces of advice you would give someone wanting to start a business?
Don’t be afraid to do it differently. Sometimes we feel that our industry or niche is completely saturated, but the reality is even if we offer similar things, we all work with different people, have different strengths and approaches. Just because you see someone doing it one way, does not mean you need to replicate it.
Invest and get guidance. While it can be challenging to do when you’re not making income, when you make a smart investment with someone who has the results you’re looking for, it can save you so much time, energy and money down the road. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know.
Don’t underestimate the power of networking. Building relationships is a critical part of business, and in the online space particularly, a lot of people skip over this. My business has been built around this and it’s allowed me to continue to grow through a lot of referrals. Don’t forget to be human, take an interest in others and what they’re up to, because you never know who they know that might need the support you offer.
Entrepreneurs are hard working, multi-talented individuals, pouring their heart and souls into their businesses. So, who better to support as a customer and learn from as you start your own entrepreneurial journey?
A big thanks to Jen Sukhan for taking the time to answer our questions! Don't forget to give her a follow.