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Meet Vala Vincent

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vala Vincent.

Vala, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I moved to United States from Iceland in 2005 in my mid 20’s. I had finally found the sun, a boyfriend (now an ex-husband), and I was happy. I ended up making Colorado my home after the split from my ex. Even though the decision to move here was impulsive, it was also a great decision as I found the place I wanted to live. In the foothills of the Rockies, what better place to be?

I had a great job as middle management in the corporate world. I wasn’t a huge fan of the corporate mentality but loved my co-workers. Then after getting married and becoming pregnant with my first child, I got blind sighted. To me, maternity leave was the normal thing to get after you have a baby. Turns out it isn’t here. On top of that, my company was being sold, so I decided to stay at home with my baby. We eventually had another child, and after years of no sleep, decided that was it for us when it came to having children. I also became antsy to get back to work.

That’s where another shock happened. It would cost me over 2K a month to get childcare for my little girls. They were about 1 and three years old. On top of that, getting back into the workforce turned out to be nearly impossible. I had this huge gap in my work history, and moms aren’t considered a valuable addition to the team. So I decided to start my own business.

This is how my first business started. I became a photographer. I thoroughly enjoyed it to start off with. I got purpose again and I got out of the house. Then it got to the point where I had to make a decision. Is this a hobby or a real business? I decided to kick it up a notch and get real with my business. I got help. I got mentoring in business and social media. I was already technologically adept, and my education became for the first time in my life useful. I got real. This led me from struggling to making an income.

I made great strides in my photography business. I won awards, got published and life was good. I started to help my fellow business owners with their business, gave them advice on what to do with social media, Facebook ads and often, how to price yourself. I got told many times that I should be a business coach. My answer was always, Nah, I’m a photographer, I love what I do. And I did, I loved being a photographer. It didn’t really match with my family schedule and it was very draining on me, but I stuck with it as it was a great passion of mine.

One day I realized that my clients were getting in the way of my marketing. It hit me right smack in the face. I loved the marketing piece more than I loved my actual work. It was time for a shift. It was time to listen to my peers who told me to become a business coach. I didn’t end up becoming a business coach, I became a social media coach where I took all my knowledge from my previous business and my previous mentoring programs to help other entrepreneurs to master social media to reach their ideal client.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Photography industry is extremely saturated. It is an expensive business to run where the average charge is between $50 to $200 for the family niche which is where I was. Keep in mind, you only take home about 20-30% of this figure. I had to overcome not charging enough to making a sustainable living which meant raising my price to 4 figures. It was incredibly scary and I never would have been able to without upping my business knowledge.

I made a million mistakes on the way, but I learned from every single one of them. I was one of those business owners who was so busy being busy that I never got anything done. I had no focus, no clarity. I had to overcome my limited mindset to get success.

I firmly believe that my struggles with my photography business has made my social media coaching business such a smooth sailing and a valuable experience that I can take with me when I help my clients. I’ve been there, done that and I know exactly how to overcome it.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Vala Vincent Consulting story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a fairly unique business. Social media coach. And, this is in an era where most don’t realize the massive shift that social media has taken and the importance of being visible on social as business owners. I am certainly swimming upstream when it comes to convincing business owners that not only do you need to be on social media, but you need to put great strategy into it.

I work with my clients one on one where we go over what goals they have for the long term. We come up with a client journey together and we get ready to do paid advertisements.

Number one mistake most online entrepreneurs make is to prematurely make a freebie. They don’t take care of figuring out their ideal client, their pain points and their needs. They make assumptions, spend a lot of time making the freebie, pay for it through ads and end up wasting a lot of money. Then when it doesn’t work, the next assumption is that the freebie didn’t work, and so the circle begins.

Social media is essential for you to build up an email and/or messenger bot list. But doing so prematurely will result in you wasting your money. You must do social listening, build a community, test it, gather data and have a place to send them afterward where you can nurture them. I help my clients do the necessary groundwork that is needed in order to do paid marketing and to grow and scale as a business.

There aren’t very many out there that do what I do for soloprenteurs who are unfortunately falling behind the curve when it comes to online marketing and technology. The world is moving faster than it has ever before, and if you don’t keep up with the change, your business will suffer.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I absolutely love what I do. I love that I can work from wherever I want in the world. My parents (who haven’t been together since I was 5) live in Iceland and Spain. Making a visit there is not a weekend trip; it’s too far for that. If I need to go to Iceland or Spain, I can do so without losing out on work. All I need is an internet connection and my laptop.

I feel lucky that my company was being sold, which led me to my decision to stay at home with my kids, or unlucky, you make the pick. Every decision in my life that I have made has led me to this moment. I knew I was meant to help others. Ever since I was young, I wanted a career where I made a positive difference in someone’s life. I was never built for the corporate world which is driven by money. I was built for the entrepreneur world that is driven by passion.

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Image Credit:
Vala Vincent, others were taken by Mariah Ehlert Photography

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