Small Business Interview: Stephanie Rubio, Soverve Marketing Group
Meet Stephanie Rubio! She is the founder of SoVerve Marketing Group, a bespoke business consulting and marketing firm that caters to small business owners and solopreneuers. After a successful career in real estate, she embarked on a journey that led her to a position in sales and it was then she decided it was time to let go of her fears and launch her business around her passion for marketing and web development. Enjoy learning from Stephanie in this interview!
"Make up your mind today and take that leap of faith. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and the past has shown you that working a 9-5 is not what you want to do forever, so just do it!"
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services/products do you offer?
Hello! My name is Stephanie Veronica Rubio, I am the owner and consultant at SoVerve Marketing Group. SoVerve is a bespoke business and marketing consulting firm, created as a way to answer to the needs of small business owners looking for personal and attention to detail services that include WordPress websites, branding material, and social media management/marketing campaigns, and various other digital marketing services. We are based in Central Florida but have the pleasure of working with clients from various parts of the country and the world. Since our launch in February 2016, SoVerve has had the honor of servicing clients in industries like Real Estate, Beauty/Fashion, Literature, and many others.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
I started freelancing right out of high school, while I was still working for my aunt and uncle who owned a vacation rentals company here in Central Florida. My uncle taught me the importance of being attention to detail and hard work. My passion for small business ownership really started then, watching my family build their business and then my own mother build hers, shaped my perspective and believes profoundly. Helping small business owners, like my mother, is such a pleasure. I tried to work for others, and even dabbled in a sales position for a major entertainment brand, but it isn't for me. My DNA is built for business ownership and once I got over myself and over my fears, I was able to really embrace my calling.
Do you have any special training?
Aside from two degrees, one in Biology – which will forever be known in my family as, “What were you thinking?!” – and a degree in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting, my experience and training come from on and offline courses and certifications I have obtained in Web Design, Digital Marketing (Social Media Management and PPC Local SEO Advertising), as well as a few courses I have taken in Web Development and Coding. Still, nothing ever prepares you for what it is to actually run and operate your own business, one you are responsible for fully.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishments to date, as a business owner has been the community I have been able to build for SoVerve and myself, in such a short amount of time. My tribe, as I call the group of amazing small business owners and entrepreneurs I surround myself with, is full of successful women who inspire me on a daily basis. Many of these women are now collaborators and partners with the SoVerve brand and many have become clients as well. These relationships have allowed me to surpass many goals I had set forth for my business.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?
To conduct business, I need very few things – Strong Wifi, my cell, and my laptop – so in terms of what it took for me to launch my business, it didn't take much capital. I saw a return on my investment after my third client. After my fifth client, I saw profits. Keeping business expenses down is very important to me. There are so many ways for new small business owners to get themselves in debt early on. This is not the objective of running a business. Making sound decisions is important to me.
How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?
I'm going, to be frank, and go all the way against the grain here, but my services are not priced anywhere in the same range as my competition. I spent months analyzing the work that my competitors produce and I was not impressed. I am still far from impressed. My highest priced items are my Social Media Management services and my WordPress Development/Installation services. These services are still priced much lower than those of my competitors. I don’t do this to gain customers from them, I do this because I know that many of my clients can DIY their own SMM or WP sites. I’m here to help small business owners do what they don’t want to do themselves. Does that make sense?
Many small business owners can absolutely do these things on their own, but they just don’t want to or don’t have the time to. That does not justify charging over $1200 for a WordPress site that does not include a custom theme, but rather a free/premium theme that has been heavily edited. Now, if someone is creating a completely custom theme, then that is another story, but that is not what I am seeing. I am providing my clients with high-quality customer service, attention to detail, and exceptional
These clients will, in turn, continue to do business with me for years to come because they trust me to be honest, and provide them with a package that is packed with high-quality services at affordable prices. Will my prices change and increase? Absolutely, but that is something that comes with experience and growth. That is my worth and the worth of doing business with SoVerve Marketing Group.
What mistake(s), if any, have you made with your business? What have some of your biggest challenges been? What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?
As a small business owner operating from a home based office, the biggest mistake I made was not anticipate my immediate growth. That has been my biggest challenge because while I had implemented things like small business banking, contracts and forms – you know, the usual – I had not established certain processes that are now essential for me to do business without running around without aim or direction. To offset this, the first thing I did was establish boundaries and business hours, because I needed time to actually run and operate my business. There are accounting and booking duties that can take a good chunk of an afternoon once a week. There are emails that demand my attention. There are just so many elements to running a business that if you do not organize yourself from the beginning, it becomes
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful business?
The most important elements to running any successful business you will find within yourself. In all honesty, schooling and training will always only take you so far. There are integral parts of running a business that can only be found in your own person. You have to be willing to take risks, have a "YES!" attitude, be incredibly humble and willing to take constructive criticism without running off to the hills. Confidence also plays a big part in running a success business and by all means, you have to fall and be deeply in love with your brand. I've written this before on social media: You have to live and breath your brand. It has to be an extension of who you are as a whole. The rest will come with time and experience, the growth and the monetary success always follows if the work ethic is there.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Do it! Make up your mind today and take that leap of faith. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and the past has shown you that working a 9-5 is not what you want to do forever, so just do it! Start your industry analysis today, make time to create your business plan, conduct competitor scans and work on your branding materials.
Ask for help and become a sponge. Absorb as much information as you can from those willing to teach it. Many of us provide tips on a daily basis, for free on social media. Take notes and follow your dreams. I wish so badly someone would have just shoved me off the ledge years ago.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
My biggest advice is to ask questions and ask for help when you don't know the answer to something. Managing small business finances is nowhere near the same as managing personal finances, so when in doubt, ask the experts. Secondly, invest in proper bookkeeping software and education. Even if you do manage your own bookkeeping, you should know and understand the terminology behind your business finances. Lastly, hire an expert accountant to guide yours through taxation information.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
Being able to put my family first was one of the main reasons I became a small business owner. I wanted to do what I love without it sacrificing my family. Work and life balance are important in our household, so for it came down to establishing business hours and taking a day or two off from the start to be present in the lives of those I love. Still, I am only in the first year of my launch, so while I may not be "Open for Business" on certain days, my cell phone or laptop are never far away. Moderation is what my husband calls it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
SoVerve Marketing Group was named to allow for growth and expansion. In five years, I absolutely see myself as part of a team and no longer a "solopreneur." I'd love to hire an intern and graphic designer to assist me in continuing to offer amazing digital marketing services to my clients and community. Still a home based business for sure, but definitely with a remote or local team. Being able to offer employment is a big goal at SoVerve HQ.
Please share a fun fact about yourself
I love fun facts and I have many! Let's see, I am also a die-hard Harry Potter fan and can't play video games, but I can design the most fabulous homes on The Sims 3. I am very easy going and loyal to the core, which sometimes gets me into all sorts of mishaps, but I just love being me. I live my life one Venti cup of dark Italian roast at a time and I wouldn't have it any other way.
How can readers find you?
Our lovely readers can find me all over the web! I’d love for YOU to become part of my amazing social media communities as well.
Thank you so much for an amazing interview, Stephanie!