Paragon’s Social + Digital Media Consultant, Michelle Conrad, recently sat down for an interview with VoyageDenver to discuss her consulting work, how she got to where she is and the importance of balance in life.

Original article posted in: VoyageDenver
Date: July 15, 2019

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Conrad.

Michelle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Since I was young, I’ve always been ‘digitally-inclined,’ so I was super excited to find a job out of college in that realm. After graduating from CSU (and getting some travel out of my system), I landed a job with Collective Intellect, a startup out of Boulder that specialized in Social Media Listening (analytics). Collective Intellect was acquired by Oracle which led me to move out of Colorado and to the Bay Area to work from the headquarters…until I realized the corporate world was not for me. I found my way back to startup life in Palo Alto, working for a Social Media Marketing company called Friend2Friend. This is where I honed in on my passion and gained a vast amount of marketing knowledge, specifically in the forever-evolving world of social media. A few years later and a move back home to Denver, I had the itch to go off ‘on my own’ as a digital marketing strategist and consultant and created Yooreka Social. For the past three years, I have worked to evolve and fine-tune Yooreka and now have clients all across the country. I love what I do and am so grateful for the journey that brought me here.

Has it been a smooth road?
What’s a smooth road?! It has been a lot of work with many bumps along the way, but without those bumps, I don’t think I would be where I am today with Yooreka. Finding a balance has created the bumpiest of bumps and spiraled me to question the potential of Yooreka as well as myself.

I think most of us as women have the tendency to want to ‘do it all’ and for me, that means being successfully self-employed, a wife and a stay-at-home mom…all while trying to maintain a social life and making my own self-care a priority. That’s a lot, and it’s not possible to do each of those things at 100% all the time…and that has been the hardest lesson for me to learn. As soon as I was able to accept that, I was able to figure out how to direct my attention toward each focus at different times.

With Yooreka, that meant I needed to have specific days each week that I dedicated to being in the office. I had to make the conscious decision that my work and what I provide to others through Yooreka was important to me and something I did not want to slip away. As soon as I made that decision something switched. I dedicated the time toward my work and I saw results in terms of happy clients and more clients. Balance is hard! Once I accepted that I can’t possibly ‘do it all’ perfectly, I was released and gained so much more freedom to grow.

The biggest struggle in terms of defining what Yooreka is and what it provides also served to be a massive part of the evolution. When I first got started, I did a lot of social media management for brands like content creation and posting across social channels on their behalf. After running with that for a while, I realized it was difficult to accurately portray a business online that you’re not ‘internally’ involved in on a day-to-day basis. It was clear to me that the content and messaging was not as authentic and personal as it should be (which is key in social marketing!). This redirected my focus to strategize for my clients while helping them understand what they need to do to successfully create that authentic and valuable content for their audiences. This also gave me the opportunity to reposition myself as a consultant to this more internally-removed position that is similar to a consumer…which coupled with my marketing knowledge has allowed me to create positive change at the root level rather than just pushing out content just to push out content.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Yooreka Social story. Tell us more about it.
Yooreka Social provides digital marketing strategy and consulting, with a heavy focus on social media. I work with a wide range of brands across the country from small to large to help refine their digital presence to meet their specific goals which is generally gaining brand recognition, attracting ideal clients, promoting new products, etc. Once a strategy is defined, consulting comes into play and it’s my favorite part! I love working with my clients in person to help them understand what they need to do to reach their goals. It sounds cheesy, but watching their ‘lightbulb’ go off and then seeing that successfully translated in their marketing makes me really excited. The relationships I build with my clients are super important to me and the building of those relationships helps me clearly identify their needs. I work with a lot of clients that know they need to catch up with digital and social marketing to stay competitive and just don’t know where to start, it’s my job to show them a clear path and help them get them caught up.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
I grew up watching my Dad work for himself, and quite successfully. He has always said that he doesn’t feel like he’s ever worked a day in his life because he loves what he does. Not only does he love what he does but he completely created his career for himself. I think this set the table for me mentally, growing up seeing that you can work, create your own work, love that work and do it on your own schedule was a massive gift that allowed me to believe that for myself. And my Mom is probably to blame for me wanting to do it all! She stayed at home with my brother, sister and I and we were so lucky to have that and I want the same for my kids. Both of them showed me exactly what I wanted for my own life and gave me the confidence to make it happen.

Read original article here.