Updated: Sep 27, 2021
The Business Anecdote recently had a Q&A session with Stephanie Saunders, who talked about her entrepreneurial journey and origin story.
Stephanie Saunders is a serial entrepreneur and social media influencer. She is the Founder of S2 Marketing and The Suskind Foundation. She is also the host of The S2 Show. John Brandon from Forbes, ranked Stephanie as one of the top influencers on social media. He is quoted saying,
When I think of influencers on social media, I don’t immediately think of a property damage claims expert. Yet, Stephanie Saunders provides well-produced videos, insights to help her audience, and tons of followers. That sounds pretty legit to me.
Please tell us a little about yourself, career journey, aspirations and what attracted you to entrepreneurship?
Stephanie: I started my career during the 2008 housing crisis and was forced to make a major career pivot away from my originally intended role in the world. After I landed a job in the one field prospering - which at that time was the creditor owned real estate sector, I took everything I learned and made the exit from corporate to fulfil the fire I had inside me to be able to work for myself. I had always been an innovator and had not always fit inside the boxes I was placed within as a corporate executive.
How much of your upbringing, surroundings and environment has influenced your entrepreneurial journey?
Stephanie: My upbringing is the root of my need to achieve. My parents were middle class hard working people that did everything to give my brother and I food, shelter and opportunities but I knew that even the jobs they hoped I would have were less than what I was capable of. When you have the itch to break the cycle and create a good relationship to money instead of intimidation you can achieve anything.
Has your entrepreneurial journey been influenced by any business leaders, past or present? If so, who are they and how have they influenced you?
Stephanie: I am inspired by genuine success stories by so many admirable business owners and founders but people like Kara Goldin (the founder and CEO of Hint), who worked honestly and grew a successful business out of a need to make a change, are what have impacted me most. It shows us aspiring entrepreneurs what’s possible if you just believe in yourself.
What do you attribute your success as an Entrepreneur to?
Stephanie: I attribute all of the wrong turns I have made, and especially those that were thrown at me to my success. In the moments when we are presented with failure we have two choices, sulk or rise to the challenge. And I have risen at each failure and come out on the other end more experienced and with a bigger vision.
What are the key challenges you have faced from the start of your entrepreneurial journey to date? How have you navigate these?
Stephanie: When I originally started my career I intended on going to law school, but the career was severally underpaid. I had to adapt, and look to growing markets and changed my perspective of what my career would look like. After spending a decade in corporate making money for larger entities and watching the ways in which they dominated sectors I knew I now had the skills to create my own success. This starting place alone showed me that adaptability and the willingness to bend in business was going to be my Golden key. Just as in life the road is never set in stone and you have to be ok with that.
What advice do you have for women aspiring to become business leaders and entrepreneurs?
Stephanie: Avoid the naysayers. Don’t stop learning and never let anyone tell you that you aren’t capable.
Let’s talk about S2 Marketing. Other than the obvious fact it is a marketing company, what makes its value proposition unique when compared to other marketing companies?
Stephanie: S2 Marketing was genuinely born out of a desire to help professionals. When the pandemic hit in 2020 - I had once again been presented with two choices - as we all were. And that was to sit and watch the world adjust or adjust with it. I immediately started leveraging social media in a new way that I had not done before. I showed up on social media daily, particularly LinkedIn and provided educational videos, sharing my behind the scenes, getting my B2B knowledge down in digital format, and my entire business model changed. I was now having leads coming to me through my inboxes and didn’t need to go to conferences or in person meetings. Colleagues from all kinds of linear businesses started reaching out asking for help and so I wanted to assist them with bringing their businesses online as well.
Who is the target market of S2 Marketing?
Stephanie: Linear business providers who are services based are similar to me and have not always had a need to implement tech into their operations need to be visible online as people. Our younger generations are living on social platforms and if we want to continue to be relevant to them you need a visible social standing.
Since you launched S2 Marketing in 2018, what key challenges has your company encountered and how did your company navigate these?
Stephanie: The biggest challenge in marketing is that the market is saturated. Unfortunately I have hired my fair share of marketing agencies and there is a lot of fancy wording and outlandish terms but failure to execute. This creates a distaste for potential clients who are truly in need of a service to change their models. The second biggest challenge is that when it comes to business marketing we are still comfortable with our faces not being associated with the company’s brand & we have got to transition away from that. Businesses are made up of people and I am a person that wants to hire another person and have a real connection to the values behind the logo.
What impact has the COVID 19 pandemic had on S2 Marketing?
Stephanie: S2 Marketing was born because of the pandemic. If we had not experienced this I believe we would not have seen so many folks come out of their old B2B or B2C ways for another decade. This tragic experience forced many of us to innovate and test new waters for how we would operate in life going forward - and recognize the true values tech offers each of us.
We would like to to thank you for taking the time out to participate in this Q&A session.
Stephanie: Thank you for including me.