Whiskey & Wisdom

Jenna Curry Way: Building Networks and Business, Founder of Port City Young Professionals

October 12, 2022 Jenna Curry Way Episode 36
Whiskey & Wisdom
Jenna Curry Way: Building Networks and Business, Founder of Port City Young Professionals
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Show Notes Transcript

This week,  we bring on Jenna Curry Way, the founder of Port City Young Professionals. We discuss how she built one of the most popular networking groups in Wilmington, NC, how being connected can benefit you personally and professionally, and how embracing failure brings success. 

How to find Jenna:
@jennacurryway
@portcityyoungprofessionals
@connectcapefear

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Thank you all for listening to this week's podcast! If you enjoy listening please consider rating, following, and reviewing the show.

How to find us:
Whiskey & Wisdom: @whiskey.and.wisdom
Chris Kellum: @ctkellum
LinkedIn: Christopher Kellum
Tyler Yaw: @tyler_yaw_
LinkedIn: Tyler Yaw

Welcome back everybody. This amazing week is brought to you by I'm just kidding. This week. Sponsors. Yeah. It's your boy Chris, and my constant co-host, Tyler, y'all. Mm-hmm. And this week we finally convinced Jenna Curry Way not to be confused with any relative of Steph Curry to come on here. Mostly y'all know her from Port City Young. Professionals. Mm-hmm. or P C Y P. Mm-hmm. But apparently she's got a couple other things up. Her tank top sleeves, Yeah. I'm shedding a layer. I'm 34 plus one day weeds pregnant. So Yes. Welcome. And up soon then. Yes. We figured it only made sense to bring you on to, because we've been going slowly through every single member of P C Y P. So that was like, why are we waiting so long to bring Jenna on I like it. You know, you've heard got little pieces from all of them and then maybe get the rest of the story from me. Yeah. Love it. Definitely. So obviously we are still in the midst of 75 hard. Mm-hmm. So there's no alcohol. Also gen. Like she said, 34 weeks pregnant. So she just a little bit I'm abstaining. Yes. But she's chilling on some port city Java. Yeah. Caffeine and conversations today then. Yes. Yes, Exactly. And still keeping it local. Yes, definitely. If you guys don't know Port City, Java definitely one of the mainstays of coffee. If you don't wanna drink Starbucks and support a big. Port City job is definitely good. Mm-hmm. or Drift or Blue Cup, you know, all the local places. I say stay away from the, the big green I get, I get around to all the coffee shops. Yeah. This one was on the way and I was running a little bit behind, but yes, Love heading up the local shops around here. Mm-hmm. So to get us started as per usual, Tyler knows a lot about the, the people we bring on 9 0 0. So could you tell us a little about yourself? Sure. So I've been in Wilmington since 2004. Came here for college from Boone area, So spent my first half of my life in the mountains and then came to the beach and stuck around, actually played golf at UNCW my freshman year. Oh no, why? And then I quit It was fun. It was great. That was great. And then When I graduated, it was 2008. Tough time to find a job. Mm-hmm. especially one that paid the bills. So, stayed on with my internship, did marketing, PR and events here locally. Got really plugged in with volunteerism, nonprofits, philanthropy. We did a lot of fun political fundraisers, nonprofit fundraising with the company that I was with. And so, you know, starting at 21, 22, I was very infiltrated. Who's who of Wilmington and what was going on. But I realized, I was like, Wow, I'm dramatically younger than all these people that are doing big things. And I was grateful to be in that position. But I also, it was lonely cuz so many of my friends had to move away to bigger cities for jobs or they moved home. So few people were able to stay that weren't still in the service industry. And I know as a a town we've addressed a lot of that, but it's. Kind of a stigma that we have here is, you know, it's hard for a lot of these graduates to stick around and have well paying jobs. So early in that career, I started the young professional group because one didn't exist. Mm-hmm. and I was like, What do I wish existed for me now? Mm-hmm. as a a 20, I guess I was 23. At the time, So that was 2009. And I didn't have a network, I didn't have young friends, so I talked to other people who were a little bit older who had friends, and I said, If I put together this thing, will you guys show up? Yeah. By people. So that's kind of how the group started and expanded. So I've been here running that group since 2009. It's evolved a lot over the years. In 2012, I started. Or I left the company I was with, partnered with another agency later, went on to start my own agency, Remedy digital agency. So do all, everything on the digital side. Mm-hmm. mostly paid advertising. Okay. Through Facebook, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn. And I don't have very many local clients right now but I've worked with a lot of clients over the years. We've done a lot of websites, branding, things like that, that and then, Let's see, I got married this year. Yeah. Congratulations. I am 30, 34 weeks along with the first chat I'm carry, but I have two bonus children. Awesome. From, from my husband. They're eight and six, and launched a project back in April with Judy who. Is also very well known in town as a, a networker connector. Mm-hmm. she was with the Greater Wilmington Business Journal for, I don't know, I think a decade. Mm-hmm. and this was kind of her brain child that she wanted to partner with me on. So we created the Connect community involvement directory, connect cape fear.com, which is a directory of all local nonprofits, volunteer opportunities, events we blog about. The community service projects and community involvement opportunities created by businesses mm-hmm. and try to highlight that area of their business. And so that's been really fun and kind of ties in really well with port young professionals. We can point people there who are looking to get involved beyond, you know, coming to a networking social, which is mostly what our events are about. So, yeah. Oh no, it was kind of like a broad, but I mean, what about me? It's funny cuz it's always back and forth. Either we get, if I ask, tell us about you, they either give us the full story or they're like, Oh well, The, what does Max call it? The, the Uber ride Pitches. Oh, mm-hmm. Oh, hey. I'm a YouTuber. Own a business or something. Oh, yeah. No. When, Yeah. If it's the, the Uber ride, it's I do marketing. Right. Yeah. Keep it simple. Yeah. All. Don't talk to me anymore on a ride. Just gimme me where I need to go. I'm gonna have to steal that question. That is a good one. Like what, what's your elevator pitch? Everyone has something different, so I was just curious cuz I've heard a lot about you. As we mentioned before, we've had quite a few people who are in P C Y P come on the show. Or the podcast I guess. Yeah, I don't, I don't know how you go for it. And they've always mentioned you. I had no idea who you were cuz I actually live in a really little bubble of go to work and go. Even though Tyler's tried to convince me to come out and join for multiple years, actually. Yeah. Gotta get out in the world. What's on now You are. Yep. Good luck of missing on now, Well, tell us about how P C Y P, you kind of told us about how it started, but kind of tell us how it, how it has grown into what it is now. Sure. So, yeah, starting it, it was just, Selfishly wanted to meet people and have a place where I'm like, I know there's other young people who are wanting to get involved, wanting to do things, and how do I make them come to me versus me have mm-hmm. go to them? And honestly, I mean, as a marketer, that's like my whole. Life now, right? It's like everything is about being a magnet, attracting people to what I'm doing or what I'm creating or what I'm putting out there for my clients. And so I didn't really realize that at the time, but that's kind of how it started. And then our very first event was April, 2009 at Surfs Bar and Grill. They're not around anymore. Oh. But I think we had like maybe 16 people and that was kind of like our first. Committee, if you would call it, then it's like, Hey, next month it's gonna be here. Everybody brings someone. And then after about, I don't know, maybe three years of doing that, and a gal, Sasha Red, she's Sasha Cameron now she is really who helped me start everything. And you know, after a few years she was really busy in other projects and took a step back. But I was at almost every event. But if I wasn't, she was there. And then we just started. Getting more and more people so new like it started spreading and I, I didn't have any help other than I'd have a, you know, some friends. I was like, Hey, can you help me? Mm-hmm. at registration, help me set up. But it was literally, Just a a time expense for me. I would send some emails. I would pay for name tags and Sharpies, the business would donate this space and give us some appetizers. Yeah. You know, and then they'd make money at the bar. Like it was, it was win-win, you know, everybody. But then we started getting bigger and I'd be like, I knew so many people, people would pull on me to talk to me and I wanted talk to everyone, but I'm like running it and. So it got to be a lot more stressful. So I started getting more people to help me and say, Hey, I'm gonna, you know, I want you to be able to leverage this group and have the exposure and opportunities that it's given to me. Right. So Then other people started benefiting the same way I did cuz I, I just became very recognizable in town. Mm-hmm. like, you didn't know about me, but you heard about me. Right. And that happened. I've, there's a lot of awards in town. I haven't run them from my agency, which is actually very successful. helping businesses. But no, most people don't even know I have an agency. Yeah. They know me from P C Y P. But really what started was so Cape Pure Sports. Was around and they were buddies of mine and they love P C Y P and they're like, We wanna sponsor an event. And I'm like, Hmm, hmm. I know what that means. Yep. Because I've done that But it was like this integrity issue with me where I'm like, I wanna make sure if you're, if we're exchanging money, That I'm turning that into more money, right. For you. That I, that you're getting a return, that you see the value and I think it was like 200 bucks. I mean like, but I was still like, like I, it didn't feel right charging for it. Cause I just loved it so much. Yeah. It was so fun. It was always a labor of love and I got so much reward out of it, whether it was clients connections, friendships, that it felt weird to charge for it. Mm-hmm. And that was the first time I had like charged a sponsorship and they were really happy. And then there was an opportunity in 2016 there was a mobile app company. Going around selling to every, anyone and everyone, I'm grateful for. It ended up not being what I thought it was gonna turn out to be, but we bought into this mobile app and I was like, Okay, now we're a business. I got incorporated, like did the things I paid. I pre-sold some advertising in it, pre-sold some sponsorships to, I think it was like $5,000, but I was like, You know, at the time that was like, I gotta, I was like, I gotta have this money. So I paid for it, like one by check, like bike check, credit card, like three different ways. And that's when we developed our membership and started figuring out how we were gonna do host and sponsors. And, you know, when you go to membership, you were listed on the mobile app as a directory. And so I was like, okay, now this can be, you know, kind of like a full-fledged bus business and I can justify spending more time. Growing it. So it's part of the reason it's evolved and stuck around as one that we're not a nonprofit A lot of people think we are we're not, and that's part of why I think it's existed in because we haven't had rotation of, you know, leadership. Right. And people wanting to change too many things and. You know, it's, it's been, it basically pays my agency to do the marketing and run everything. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm And then we started getting more and more ambassadors. And that's who a lot of you, you've had a lot of them on our ambassadors, which makes sense that you would be drawn to them to have on the podcast cuz they're all doing epic things. They were drawn to ambassadorship, which is really just. They help at events, they volunteer, they speak on the mic. Sometimes they help at registration. We have like a new connection section when people come to events. Yeah, they can go there and kind of have a first their toe experience and networking. A lot of 'em are liaisons, so when someone joins us, a member. An ambassador reaches out and says, Hey, do you have any questions about P C Y P, about networking? And so it gets to make them the magnet. Mm-hmm. and them, the person that people go to first. And for a lot of them, you know, that are real estate agents, insurance agents, business owners, you know, like it's, it's win-win. Yeah. And so kind of, that's the magic sauce with P C Y P is like win, win, win when, like, the more wins we can find, it's what works. And so, you know, we had, we celebrated. 15 years in April. Oh wow. So it'll be 14 this coming year. And what's been interesting about this year is just getting really, the last couple years I've been trying to get me out of the face of it and highlight other people, Right. Mm-hmm. and that's gone really well. It's been hard for me cuz like, this is my first baby Yeah. My first was G C I. But everyone's been very patient with me. So I had an event early or two events in the last two weeks, and now I'm, I'm done for Right, a few months. And have an assistant here in town. She's got all the stuff and then we've got ambassadors that all know what they're supposed to do. Mm-hmm. And I'm actually really excited to see where it goes because I know getting myself out the way is gonna allow. Growth and ideas in other ways. Yeah, for it, and not to say I'm not gonna be back, but it certainly won't be the same. I I spend my time between here and Alabama. People don't know that about me either. So my husband and our kids, we are in Alabama. Okay. And I have a home here and I live with my brother and my nephew here and friends in business and everything here. So I love coming back and I've been coming back every month, but I know. Not gonna always be the case right? But I can do a lot of it remotely. I just can't commit to always being here. So that's kind of the story. I mean, so we're, we have over 600 members. Oh wow. We've got you know, over 4,000 on our Facebook group, over 7,000 on our Instagram over 4,000 on our email list. So, you know, we have members and then we have, you know, guest and visitors and non-members. You don't have to be a member. Right. There's extra, extra benefits, but, Kind of what we do well is just with our big party every month. Yeah. We've tried other things, we've dabbled in other things, but that's what we do best. It's just a casual, easy networking, social. We go to cool places like, like it was cool coming here. I was like, Oh my God, I haven't been here. Right. Yeah. So at the cargo district last night Or, yeah like where the new ferment is and everything. Like, oh my God. Like there wasn't even anywhere to park. I was like, man, Bumping down here, like I haven't been out very much lately, so it's been like, it was like, this is so cool. Yeah. To see and get to new places. So people love P C Y B. Get some to new places, exposed to new businesses. They learn about nonprofits, but it's very low barrier, even entry. It's not like commit to this thing. It's like you can come three times a year and have great benefits, or you become an ambassador and a leader and you know, really make a name and face for yourself. A lot of people have grown their business. And TR and say P C Y P is a huge part of that. Mm-hmm. I love those stories. So we always have the random question, totally not anything to do with P C Y P and then I'm gonna come back to it. Alabama or Auburn Roll Tide. Yeah. I had to ask like you brought it up, you're like, Well I technically live in Alabama cuz I know TJ's an Auburn fan, so I didn't, I had to pull it out there. Unfortunately. Yeah, that's a very popular question album, but I'm also Appalachian fan. It's been a fun year for football. Oh, Abate has been killing it. Yeah, it's been a fun year to watch football. So we had, we'll go back and forth to both games yesterday in my house, so, yeah. What kept you in Wilmington after coming down from Boone? Gosh, I, I did not wanna leave. Yeah. I really, I loved it here and I love Boone. I love going back to Boone. I still have family in Boone. Mm-hmm. one, I was sick of being or being cold nine months outta the year. like that gets old. Like, you know, the, the, the summers there were amazing. With ski and snowboard in the winter, but by the time it's snowing in April and May, you're like this. Yeah. It's not good for my psyche. and actually like I, I had a little bit of a rough transition getting and kind of feeling at home here. It's not like I came to Wilmington and went to school and was like, you know, like in school most people didn't know me. I had a really rough. Freshman, sophomore, junior year, really like growing roots and feeling, you know, I was a big fish in a small pond in Boone and then like, was really outta my element and had a a lot to work through personally. And so a lot of people who knew me in college, like, can't believe that I like do all that I do now. They were like, Oh my God, you were just like really quiet and. Probably an alcoholic, like it's just Like it's, Yeah. Not in a good, good place. And so I think once I finally started to one, I loved it here and I loved being, like having the coast and all the opportunities that were here. Cause I grew up somewhere where there was great climate and things to experience that I knew the value of being not in the middle of the state, where it's like you can just wake up, go to the beach, right, go to the lake, do all these things. I think also part of me was scared to go somewhere and start over again because I had all that trauma of like, That transition that I told him that first time. Right. And so, if you think about it, I was there for, I've been for 18 years, kind of been for 18 years. Mm-hmm. here again, I'm 36. And then, you know, I'm kind of, it's like in my next chapter, right now, I've been going back and forth to Alabama for three and a half years now. So it's been a, an easy transition, but it's like, okay, this third chapter, I'm like, okay, so every 18 years right, there's a cycle for me of A new chapter and experience cuz you know, it's, it very much is a new chapter being a mom being married, everyone. So you can start a young professional chapter there. I'm like, I'm, I'm 36, right? probably not like, I'm more like hanging out with the, the mom entrepreneurs and the right, I go to like fit for mom class three days a week and like, it's just a different chapter and time in my life. Yeah, Wilmington will all, like, I and my husband knows, I'm like, I never see a time when I won't be back, like every, at least every three months or something. Right. It's an eight hour drive. Like, Yeah. That's not bad. It's, yeah, it's, it's home. My coworker for a few years his family had was in Alabama. He had come here for training and anytime he had like back to back days, he'd drive down and I'm like, hm. You, you got a lot of like willpower. Cuz anytime I'm in the car more than like an hour and a half, I'm like, I'm gonna take a nap and my wife hates it. Cuz I'll be taking a nap while I'm driving. I'm like, you need to, I've done that, I've done that. Don't. Yeah. You, the drive has become therapy. Okay. Books on tape podcast. I make, I plan to make calls or like I set up call dates, you know, where it's like, Hey, let's catch up on Sunday. I wanna be in the car for eight hours. Like, let me know. And so and then if my husband was coming back a lot more with me, and then I would nap mm-hmm. but I'm not napping. Yeah. I'm I'm staying really busy and it's like, I, I look forward to it. I'm like, that's a time when I have. You know? Yeah. Just do exactly what I wanna do. Gotcha. Whatever that is. So is Alabama gonna be the actual home base for you then? Yeah. That's crazy. I didn't know that. Yeah. A lot, a lot of people don't know. Yeah. And, and I haven't broadcasted it a lot of it because I, I do still have clients here and like, don't want people to think, cuz I mean, but 95% of what I do is removed. Right. Yeah. Right. So, I don't have to physically be here and people are getting more used to that, you know, cuz of Covid. Cause I really was there almost all at Covid. But no one knew that, you know, I'm running virtual events. Everyone's in Wilton. Yeah. And I'm an Alabama I like it. It didn't matter. And people were jumping on actually from kind of all over. I mean, I think we did like, I don't know, probably 40 virtual Oh wow. Virtuals during Covid or Geez, more. Yeah, it was. A lot in the How was that transition when Covid started into kind of what you were doing? I was so mad. Yeah. I was so mad because I mean, it was good that I was comfortable working remote, working virtually having zooms. But the end of like 2019 was when I was really had committed to planning ahead, putting other people in place. I had. I probably had seven trips planned in 2020. I had every single venue booked. For 2020 for P C Y P. Wow. I had sponsors. I had trained what we were calling like the core for ambassadors and their co-leaders of, Right. These are your events. You're in charge of, this is what you're doing. And it was the most organized I ever was. And then it. All went to shit. Like all of it. That's right. So it, if I wasn't so planned out and so excited about, you know, the year I would think I was going to like three different countries, like had all this business travel plan, but I, you know, P of ip so precious to me, and it's been, so it's by far the most rewarding personal, professional thing I've done. That's, that's Just seeing how it's affected other people. Right. And like I hear stories of, you know, years later of relationships and business things that happen. Mm-hmm. I'm like, wow. Like I'm so glad I'm a part of that. And I didn't even, I didn't have to. It's just passive, you know? Yeah. It just spreads. And so I was really scared that, you know, if we weren't doing events that. P C Y P become irrelevant. And so we doubled down on virtual Brad Cadwell. I don't, Has he been on? Mm-hmm. Not yet. We, he's been recommended quite a few times. Yeah. Hide the bottles, right? Hide the bottles. Okay. Hide them. Put 'em in your lock box. You talking about earlier man loves bourbon, but he stepped up in a way that no one ever has fur me and P C I P and just, you know, he was doing, A call a week. Oh wow. Sipping with Brad. Yep. I remember that. So he had his own Bour show and I did, I think, I think I was on Mondays. He was on Wednesdays, or maybe it was Vice first. So I forget now. I've like, and you know, my events were very like, we're all gonna get so much out of this and we're gonna, everyone's gonna get a chance to talk and introduce and we're gonna, you know, fire off, like how to help everyone. And and I, we, we, I would get a pretty, pretty good turnout for mine. Yeah. But Brad would just go kick back sip pi bourbon tell stories. Yeah. But he got to know everyone and he could, he brought out things in other people and at the end of when we kind of like had a send off mm-hmm. back, I think April of this year was when we finally. Did like a send off of virtual, cuz we were, we, we went from like every week to every other week to Sure. Yeah. Once, so we wound down he said, I think it was close to 600 people had been on. Oh my goodness. Si with Brad over the course of, you know, that two year period. Wow. I didn't know how many were mine. I was like, good on, Yeah, good on you. But I know he had, he had a lot more and that was, I know a lot of beautiful like friendships and relationships. Came out of that. And so I attribute a lot of, you know, P C Y P thriving through Covid to, you know, the calls he and I were doing, but especially, you know, because like I just have in my mind what people I think people want. Cause it's what I want. Right? Yeah. I know everyone wants a chance to talk and do this, but he had, you know, and his vibe wasn't for everyone either. Mm-hmm. you know, some people preferred mine and a lot of people just didn't, couldn't stand virtual at all. Yeah. But. Yeah, so we, we pivoted and we had, you know, we got sponsors, we got we did some like educational type programming. We did some trainings, you know, we would try stuff and if it had a good turnout, we'd do it again. And so, Just like with B C Y B last 13, some stuff we tried and we were like never doing that again. that was trying that again. Yeah. And y'all are doing that too, I'm sure. Here with you know, and that's just the iterative marketing process. You're like, Yeah, but if you never start, you never try. Exactly. Never. I mean, we, we've been doing it for about two months now, and you can, if. Take the time to go from our very first episode to now. You can kind of see, see and hear the transitions of everything that we went through. So very similar. I know. Mm-hmm. and just on a much smaller scale. Yeah. But think of where you're gonna be and you know Right. 14 years. Yeah. Yeah. 14 years. Yeah. Yeah. Hope it doesn't take as long as it's taking me to figure things out. hopefully if, when we're doing this in 14 years, it'll be a multi episode a week. Us chilling with sponsors just. Hey, I didn't actually have to go into work today. right? Yeah. Was much was my job. man, manifest it. Yep. You all had Tim Howard on here, right? I am a podcast owner that mm-hmm. is sponsored every week and I come in and I do this. So I went back and listened to a few before today. Yeah. Tim, Tim's got a lot of good, He's got a lot of wisdom. He certainly does. Yeah. Yeah. And had a opportunity to go on his podcast. I know you have, right? Yeah. Yeah. Have you not been on that one? He invited you so you can go on any time. I'm okay. I like where I'm at in the podcast. You like asking the questions? Yes. It, it is a very different experience being on the other side. Yeah. A thousand percent. Mm-hmm. Cause we've already talked about cheer marketing business. Mm-hmm. Which is super awesome. I've always been curious about marketing and I know I've, in my roles at other jobs, it was always like, Hey Chris, you're in charge of social media and this person, like, we would rotate. And I'm like, I am not the best at that. I feel like I, I hit the age where I'm like, I'm a little too old to be in charge of social. But we don't hire anybody younger than me, so Yeah. But you said you started a collaborative for a third out taking business. Business, the Cape Fear. Mm-hmm. Connect, Cape Fear. Well, it's our official name is the Connect Community Involvement Directory, which kind of a mouthful, but the website is Connect Cape Fear. Okay. Dot com and yeah, that's, it's yeah, so just since April and that's been. You know, when Judy approached me with the idea, she wanted to have like a, a book, physical book. Mm-hmm. I know you know about print. Ah, yeah. And I said, I said, Hell no, I'm not into it. That's a lot of fucking work. I said, I am not down for print. I don't like that. It can't be refreshed as needed. Mm-hmm. it can't be, you know. Unless you're doing something every week. But you know, like something like that, it's a lot, it's expensive, it's a lot of work distribution. And, but when you can say, you know, you can email it to me and then we get updated, or if we put something out there and they wanna change it, you know, we can. And so it was a, it was a kind of a perfect partnership when I showed her, you know, All right, we can do your vision, but if we did it online and I was able to build it, On the same platform as the P C Y P website, so I was very familiar with it. Mm-hmm. and it does all these really cool things that we were able to duplicate and model, but for a different audience, you know, the, of course everyone at P C Y P can benefit from, you know, being able to easily find search for events and different o other groups to plug into. Cuz I know P C Y P is not the end all Beall of Wilmington and networking. Like it has its place, but it's not, it's not, it. There's a lot of other groups mm-hmm. and activities that every, that people should have a few things that, that fuel them and, and fuel their business. And so it's a way to point people to that. And it's been You know, it's, it's a new business. Mm-hmm. So we're, we're learning things, we're trying things. We're gonna be at the business expo this Thursday. Yeah. Okay. And hoping that generates some activity. Part of it, part of a challenge has been getting really busy nonprofits and groups mm-hmm. to go in and really fully. Customize and optimize their listings. Cuz we can put a lot at in it right through like what we can find. But no one can tell their story better than them. True. And so I think that was a hurdle. We were really not anticipating it being so hard to get them to just, Hey, we wanna tell your story for free. Right. Can you just tell us the story and we'll tell it for you. Yeah. And so you know, but it's, you know, we're, we're both invested and in it for the. The long haul, but we're you know, still building and growing the brand now, but we've had some really cool partnerships. Mm-hmm. really cool activity and yeah, I'm excited to see where that goes. And again, it's another thing that I can do from anywhere. Mm-hmm. Cause I'm more of like the back end. She's front more the front facing and doing sales. Mm-hmm. Cuz it makes, it makes money cuz businesses advertise right on the website. We don't charge nonprofits to be in there. We promote their events for free. Cuz that's the content, that's and then bus. And then on the business side, just telling the stories of the nonprofits or of the philanthropic community involvement things that businesses are doing. And Wilmington does a lot like businesses here, really do a lot community involvement wise, philanthropy wise. Mm-hmm. volunteer wise. And we wanna tell those stories. Yeah. But how do you get, This is more of like business question. Sure. How do you get more conversion online? I've always done well or decently well on social media and then we did well at distribution with Brent. It's just like, kind of what you said, it's hard to get people to tell you what you need on there. And we're trying to plan three, four months out, like deadline, deadline, deadline in the right the headache today or we were really busy or I'm going on. Like it's hard when you're with small business owners, right? Yeah. And they also didn't. events far enough out. Mm-hmm. they're like, Oh, we are doing something this weekend. I'm like, When did you have it planned three days ago? Like, Oh, okay. I can't help you with the paper that's already in print. I feel that so hard. Yes. So I mean, currently, so I, you had mentioned, you know, so marketing is like the broadest thing I do. Marketing, that's why I say it and then shut up if I don't wanna get into it. But there's so many forms of. Marketing and the more niche you can get with what you do in marketing, the more powerful you can be for your clients. Mm-hmm. so, you know, big entities, they have somebody who's. The Facebook person. Yep. The Instagram person, and then the Google person. And they've got one person that's like so dialed in on that thing and they're the expert in doing it for software. Mm-hmm. or doing it for furniture or whatever. So it's like a lot of companies wanna hire someone that's like, Oh, I want you to do 10 different things. And you're like, Okay, well I can do all of them like a little bit. Well, but no one right. Is gonna be able to do them all. Great. So for me, over the years I've niched down from, you know, being like full service, digital marketing. Mm-hmm. which is great cuz I know, I know how it all works and how to track it and Right. But I, you know, it changes so fast. I can't be great at all. It, so one, you have to have a team and two so for me, I niche down really specifically back in 20. 17, just on like paid ads. Sorry. Oh, okay. So again, so that's like one level niche down, and then I was like, Okay, Facebook and Instagram. And then I was like, Okay, well that's still like thousands of types of businesses. Yeah. Yeah. So there'd be like, Okay, we're a travel company, we want you to help us. Oh, we sell, I don. What's the product we like or mobile app install? Yeah. Or cups or whatever. And it's like, but that's a whole separate strategy in audience. And so with me now it's, I it's a lot of service based businesses. It's another layer. It's a lot in like the medical space. And now I'm like med spas. Okay. I've got like a dozen med spa clients, like all over. So that's like my sweet spot right now. And. Evolved a lot and then in education mm-hmm. So I've done a lot with different public and private educational entities, but I don't manage like social media accounts. Yeah. I like to partner with businesses that have great content teams. Mm-hmm. right? So that I can put a budget. Behind it and amplify it to their target audience, and then create an offer or a funnel that they can opt into and then nurture them on the back end. So we build email automations, SMS automations, booking, sending people to book a call. So like for med spas, it's like, Hey, right. You know, opt into this thing. And then we have. A system where we can text them, call them, email them, get them to come in for an appointment, and then we're able to track all that so that, you know, at the end of the month it's like, Hey, this is what we spent, this is how much we, how many were booked, how many sales were made, You know, do we wanna continue with this offer or try something new? Right. And when I compare that to when I started in 2012, Where I'm like blogging. I was like in blog hell for like two years and I was like writing I think 30 blogs a month, like at Oh wow. Like it was insane. It was insane. And they're all different, all different types of industries, you know, Like I learned a ton, like I learned a lot about seo, but you know, SEO is like the long haul and so like iPhone with what I was doing in ads, so I was like, this is satisfying. Mm-hmm. like, kinda like with piece ofp, I'm like, I wanna take your money and I wanna turn it into more and I wanna be able to. To it instead of saying like, Well, you know, we got more traffic to the website, We got some more impressions. We got some likes and clicks, you know? Yes. All that is good. But I like, I'm, I'm fueled by results, trackable, tangible results that I can see. So that's what I, Yeah, that's, that's Tyler. Yeah. A thousand percent. Yeah. So, so for you, if you're talking about, you know, what's, Well one, what's working now, if you wanna grow on Instagram's reels, Yeah. I know I'm like trying to get my assistant. I'm like, I'm I, this is where we need to be. We're we are not doing it right, Like for our own stuff. And I, it's something we talked about last week. I went and filmed some content yesterday. Has it been posted? No. Mm-hmm. But like, I want, I'm trying to get like some types of things that we wanna start doing and amplifying both for. Kind of for all three, because reals are the fastest, easiest way to grow on Instagram right now. And they transfer, You know, it's owned by meta. It translates right over to Facebook that you can use and. That's what's prioriti, what's being prioritized on those channels and the fastest way to grow it. Now, the thing you wanna do on top of that is direct people to your link bio or your profile where there's the next step. Mm-hmm. right? So you can create the juiciest, sexiest content ever. Yeah. That gets 10 million views, but if nobody knows what to do next, Yes. You know, and then having a way to capture that contact information. So that if they're not ready to purchase now, how do you get them? I mean, do you guys have email list? You know, are you bringing people in so that when there's a new episode out, hey, email, check it out. You know, here's the, the link to it. And then when you have a need for something, you can put it out there. Hey, who do you wanna nominate for an interview? Things like that. But start having your own audience built because. That's when you, you know, really start getting sponsors and things like that. People are gonna, gonna, How big is your audience? Well, this month we get this many downloads, this, but our email list is 10,000. Right? Like, cool, well let's start there, because we wanna know how many we we're gonna reach. And then even a step further than that is just reach with a pretty small budget, especially locally doing retargeting. So with Facebook and Instagram, you can create custom audiences of people. Who like your page, right? Who've engaged with your page, who've watched certain amount of videos who've been to your website. And so for a couple dollars a day, just retargeting them to come back and do the thing you want them to do next, So those are like, like, you know, to me they're, there's simple, like, you gotta be doing this at least. But most people don't even know that those, Yeah, options exist. Right. But for a you know, a fairly small budget, when you're local, you can do, you know, the casting, the wider net, Whoever likes, clicks, engages, visits your website and then retargeting them to opt in to whatever you can do with the contest and stuff. Yeah. Mm-hmm. So are you capturing contact information for this? A little bit. Not what we should be doing. Yeah. I am not, I actually don't know how to do that. Yeah, it just could make form, make a form, get 'em on, even if you don't have like the email database yet to like, send the emails to start capturing it for, for later. Right. So Google form or I think MailChimp still has a free thing up to 2000. So just, you know, start just collecting them that way. And it's, even if it's a two step contest entry, it's like, hey. Do this thing, but also Right. Contact info gives you another entry. Yeah. But contests are huge, powerful ways. But you also wanna make sure that what you're giving away is an alignment with the audience, Right. To attract mm-hmm. Right. So, Whiskey and wisdom giving away whiskey. Right. But maybe it's like the second step of what they have to do is maybe something business or community or related. So it's not just people who like whiskey. Right. Also the wisdom side. Yeah. That makes sense. That So then my random question, cuz I always come with some, Did you go through, when we did our giveaway for the the rice boutique, did you look at. I saw I was on your Instagram and saw several posts about it, but I, I wasn't, I didn't opt in. I, I know you've, you've never been to Rice to live boutique. You would love it. I would say especially being pregnant now when you're gonna have a little one that is there. Little, little girly pink stuff. Yeah. So I know Cassie from way back in the day, but she started the boutique as like a mommy and me style. She did. Mm-hmm. Okay. But she didn't want it to be like, Oh hey, like if you went to like the children's place or something where like the clothes all look the exact same and just very generic. She got clothes that make sense for a, a actually stylish southern girl or like a little kid. And she has stuff for a little boys as well. But it's typically like five and under until her kids get older. She'll get bigger stuff. Yeah. And some of our outfits are super. I need. Yeah, definitely need to check it out. I have made a lot of searches online lately for maternity. Mm-hmm. stuff, but I don't know if, maybe if I had searched for children's clothing. Cause I've joked, people are like, Oh, you have everything for the baby. I'm like, I've got everything for me. Right. Yeah, she's, she's got everything she needs right now. I'm just kidding. I just, So my joke has been like, Yeah, I've just been buying things for me that I need and I'm gonna need, But I did just have my baby shower, and so now I'm like, Okay, and now I know what I've got and what I need. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So she will be fine. She will have plenty, but yes. I'm gonna go check out Ryan's lab boutique. I don't know if they're open on Sundays, but Yeah, they are. Yeah. Okay. I mean, she's finally, she's expanded her team, so they're open seven days a week now. Awesome. I love it. I love cheering on. other people in business. Mm-hmm. and especially people trying new things and putting their, putting their neck out there. And that fires me up. Like what you guys are doing fires me up. The fact that so many of my ambassadors and people that I've seen level up and grow, that they're coming on here and putting themselves out there. That fires me up. Yeah. Like this is something we haven't really. Public and the reason why we've had so many people, especially the ambassadors on, and I think it makes sense to talk about it now since you're on. Mm-hmm. We found out early and often that the ambassadors have a huge, very well connected network. Mm-hmm. and loyal as hell. Mm-hmm. So like if you look at our downloads, if there's an ambassador that's on, it's like off the charts every time. I love, Yeah. So, Oh my gosh. That like gave me chills. Like I wanna That's amazing. I wanna get that in a quote and like share that for you guys. Yeah. And I mean, I think we should be doing like some cross promotion for sure. Like about some memberships and get you as a member and coming out to things at least one. And I, like I was telling you earlier, I mean the reason we opened up the recording studio is so people who are local don't have to go and rent out the space at a. A DJ booth. There are like a spot where you're recording like your rap album. Mm-hmm. like this is like a small, intimate, You can come in, especially for like small businesses, if you want to do a voiceover, you wanna do something easy, you can come in and do it in a small spot. That's not like I don't know where the spaces is. This seems kind of sketchy which is kind of like the vibe I get every time. I like Google, like recording studios. It's either like in the middle of nowhere. And I, some people probably shouldn't be there, or it's in a whole nother spot where the guy who owns it, you're just like, Mm. And it's just confusing too. I mean, I, my background is a dj, so I mean, I know a lot about audio equipment and the way that we created this studio was to be easy. Like you can look down at this and it's pretty intuitive. You press the big red record button and you start recording. It's really, So that, I think that'd be great for a lot of the people at P C Y P too to kind of expand their message out. Sure. I mean, it's, I mean, Podcasting's really, really cool right now. It's really trendy. It's a lot of people have ideas, They're like, Oh, I wanna start a podcast about whatever, but they don't know where to take that next step. So the fact that there's something like this, that, that exists, but you know, even. You could point them to some content or wherever to, you know, start where it's, you know, before you start. Yeah. Look at this. Like, these are some of the platforms, you know, for getting started. Cuz like recording, you know, I, I did. I dabbled in it. I actually had a podcast in 2012. Okay. A better user experience podcast. Yeah. I did with my business partner at the time, so before podcast was really big and cool. Right. We would bring in businesses and talk about their online tools. Mm-hmm. the digital tools. We wanted to be user experience. Agency helping websites worked better. And then we realized that local businesses were lucky to even have a website and weren't ready about to have conversations about how to make them work better. So we pivoted eventually, but it was a cool experience. But yeah. So people now, they just like don't know where to get started. Mm-hmm. So like having the space, but then it's like, okay, here's step one, two, and three. Yeah. Doing it. And if you do it, you can do it on Zoom. I did, I dabbled a little bit during Covid and did some interviews. Cause I was like, I wanna do this like connection series thing. Yeah. But there's being in person, it's really nice. Yes. Mm-hmm. doesn't always work. It's really important to have good audio if you want to. Cast the biggest net possible, right? And get people listening regularly. So having a space like this is really exciting for our area, and we haven't launched our website yet, but it's, it's in progress. And on there too, there's a bunch of different things that you can sign up and work with one of us, or I'm trying to also work with another. It's called pod school. It's up in Raleigh. So I'm trying to work with them as well to bring something together because it's one thing to have the place come and sit down, but if you don't know how to structure what you're doing or what the next step is, beyond pressing the record button, it doesn't really matter. Yes. So that's a like a paid service. You guys good? Good. I think that'll do well. It's just podcast school Yeah, exactly. It's so funny cuz so many people, like I was talking to our friend and she's like, Well, my brother wants to start a podcast. But they want to do the whole, let me buy all the equipment and let, it's like, let's be real. That equipment ain't cheap. Uhuh, like the only reason we we got started was cuz I got a Christmas paycheck and I had money set aside. I'm like, okay, I can buy something. But like so many people have great ideas and they can't get it out there cuz they're like, Well I can't start now because I don't have this, this amount of funds, or I can't do this. I'm like, We we're trying to get you, just like P C Y P is get a low barrier of entry to help you get out there. Cause once you get started, I mean, you don't have to be here forever, but you can get here, you can get started, you can get listens, and then if you save up the money, then you can step out. Well and you might hate it. Yeah. Right, Right. Are you might realize like, Oh well I love doing this. I don't have an audience for it, so. Mm-hmm. I'm so glad I didn't just dropped five figures on on equipment, but I love that you say that because with, with the young professional group, get a lot of people who have these business ideas, but they get paralyzed. By shit that doesn't matter. Mm-hmm. like para, I don't have a low go. Yeah. I don't like, I need to hire designer about like the, the branding stuff or I have to have a website up before I do all that. Like, y'all are, y'all are going, things are happening. There's activity. There's no website. I didn't have a website for A P C Y P until like, 2012, 13. We were around for four years before then. Yeah. We didn't even have a email newsletter for a few years. Mm-hmm. we were, we were sending from Gmail, you know, like, passer, like you should see the flyers I used to pass around getting started. Right. like prove the concept, prove the audience and the product first, and then. Start investing in things like I've seen so many people waste money on like, Oh, now I have the perfect website. It's like, Cool. Well, your product sucks, right? Doesn't matter. You could've tested the product first by knocking on doors, showing up at events, giving it away to see if people even wanted or like it, or will pay you for it right before you go. And do all that. So this is a, a perfect way to kind like come and test your assumption of what you think people want in a podcast and that you think you'll actually do it and do it consistently. Yeah. Because you can do a podcast for three months. Yeah. Love it. And then if you stop. Yeah. I think maybe you, it was good enough to that something good will happen. Right. That, you know, fuels it. But it's, it's a, it's a commitment, you know, to mm-hmm. you have to really love it and re the, It's win-win. Yeah. It's gotta be multiple wins to make definitely worth, keep doing it. So, yeah, so $45 is significantly cheaper, which is what it is for an episode in here. Are you serious? Yeah, it's, Oh my God. Yeah. It's such an noer. I mean, the, the way that we make this work is gonna be through sponsors for our podcast. We wanted to make it a super low barrier to entry for people to come in and just it helps a cargo district out too. The more people we have coming in here, if they have something that works and they have a business they're sharing, then maybe they get an office. Work out a commission with the cargo district that Yeah, anyone you refer anyone you refer, that comes in through you. Yeah. Yeah. Good idea. Get a little pizza of that Love it. Well we are starting to come up on our time today too, so I do have to ask you our last question. If you were to tell your younger self one thing, what would it be? That anytime you fail, you're just one step closer to, you know, becoming or having what you truly want. Yeah. I think fear of, fear of failure held me back a lot. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. But anytime I've just like gone forward or been like, Okay, well that didn't work. It's embracing failure. If I hadn't, you know, if I would, we did our podcast and realized like, we didn't make any money doing this podcast, but it's like, Oh my God. Everything we learned from that. Mm-hmm. moved us closer to me, like, I have the business of my dreams right now. Mm-hmm. like I, I've literally failed my way to finding exactly what I love right doing, and I know that'll change. Yeah. Over time. Yeah. I love that cuz I first met you through Firefly, which that was just a lot of time and effort for a very small return. I've been there. Yeah, exactly. I've been there. But what, Yeah. All that you learned in your life, right? There's a different way for me to cuz I know where your heart was with that business and what your expectations were. And you are, have found other ways, right, of getting the same or similar result. It doesn't require pounding the paper quite so much. Right, exactly. Yeah. Sitting down and talking to people on microphones is a whole lot easier than trying to print stuff out. Well, cause then they don't have to send you anything. Exactly. Yeah. When you can control it, it just, it just makes it easier. You're in the print industry for a small period of time too, weren't you? Yeah, so I, I was a co-owner of Wilmington today. Right. And I'm still a part of that project. Okay. But, Yeah. So, but we built out, I took over most of the online stuff. Oh yeah. You know but we're still a print publication, but we prep one issue Right. A year. Right. Like that is so much nicer. Yeah. One issue goes in all the hotels, all the short term rentals. Yeah. It's, you know, we do one distribution a year, so that model. I think can survive. Yeah, it's definitely, it's, it's the, the weekly that's not that it can, I mean there's plenty that Right. Are still around. It's just That's a lot. Takes a team much more than two people. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. Well, thank you so much for taking time to come on. I know you're gonna be on your way back to Alabama soon, so I appreciate you taking some time this morning, especially on a Sunday to come out and talk to us. Yeah, I'm glad it worked out. I've got a friend who lives two streets over and she's got some leftover soup that she made yesterday. Nice. So she's, And I'm probably gonna take a walk on the river while, while I'm over here. Yeah. Thanks for getting me outta the house, Definitely. So thank you, Jenna. Yes. Sorry, I got a bunch of names running through my head that's for coming on and I mean, it was, it was an experience. I think I learned a lot from you and, you know, some, some episodes there's more wisdom than others. I think I got a lot of wisdom out of this. Mm-hmm. Well, I appreciate that. So is there any place where you would like people to find you or P C Y P or your other businesses? Yeah. I would say the majority of this audience is gonna benefit greatly from following Port City young professionals on Instagram at Port Young professionals going to ports young professionals.com. Even just hopping into our newsletter. Mm-hmm. come to your first event. All ages, all professions. The roles are there's no age limit or minimum. It's just young, young at heart. As long as you're not an asshole, that is, that is the parameters that's important. We do have to drill in like, you are not too old for P C I P. You know, if it starts being only, you know, senior citizens come, then we'll have to like address that. But I want older people there. I want younger people there so that we can all learn from each other. Right. And then at Connect Cape Fear, that is a great place to follow. Look at up, like events, community involvement events. If you're with a nonprofit or a club, it doesn't have to be a not-for-profit, but like if you have a networking group mm-hmm. or you are doing something that involved, that brings people together mm-hmm. Then you can claim a free listing, add your events add blogs, add video. Had photos and a way for people to find you that are looking what, maybe it's y'all have a whiskey club, I don't know. You know, there's like the roller skating club and there's like, there's clubs. And organizations listed there. And then connect Kate for.com and we're working on growing our newsletter list and putting great content out Okay. Through our newsletters. So that's a great place to subscribe. And I'm not really taking new clients to my agency so those are the best too, cuz I got, I've got more of a, a system built for growing both of the other two right now. Right. Cool. So yeah. That's great. But yeah. Thank you Jenna. Yeah, thanks guys. It was super fun. Well hopefully talk to you guys. But follow all our social medias on the interwebs go online, leave us a lovely review because you know, that just helps us out, reach a broader audience. Mm-hmm. and you know, just help us reach more of the, the greater Wilmington area, if not further especially eventually further. Yeah. Especially that one kid in Denmark who listens to us very consistently. It could be a vpn, but we still love it. That's awesome. Via Cheers. Cheers. Thanks guys. Thank you.