Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sara Alston, Founder of Sara Marie Marketing, located in Savannah, GA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I specialize in Social Media Optimization and Content Batching, and as my business name suggests Marketing. There are only three ways to work with me: 1 Optimization of your social media accounts, 2 Content creation and batching, or 3 I am available to be booked by day rate as a Tech Virtual Assistant.

The optimization of your Social Media accounts involves a complete overhaul not only of your graphics, SEO, and search terms, utilization of the platform to the fullest, and settings but also some other industry "secrets" that most people just don't know about when they're utilizing social media. Of course, the content creation and batching is my 90 days of content done for you in just ONE week (which is probably my favorite service). I am also available to be booked at a day rate as a Tech Virtual Assistant, and this is where I help Online Business Managers and Systems Specialists with ClickUp builds, Dubsado builds, SOP Manual creation, and other miscellaneous items that they need assistance with just for the one day (they may not need an ongoing monthly retainer).

I am most known for encouraging my clients to be on social media LESS. Yes, don't get me wrong, social media is my specialty, and it is a necessity to market your business and keep afloat in the online business space. However, there is so much more to life than social media, and that is exactly why I offer the services I do. My services are designed to keep you relevant and active on social media without actually spending hours and day after day after day on the app. That's right – I preach that you don't have to be on social media daily, just consistently, and with my framework through my Optimization, Content Creation, and Batching, this allows my clients to share their expertise and get leads in without feeling the burnout and sacrificing much-needed family time and self-pampering time.

Tell us about yourself

My journey in the virtual space as an online business owner started back in 2020… Yes, everyone knows that year as the year of the pandemic, which should give some insight into the difficulty I was having in finding work. Now, why was I looking for work in the first place, right? My husband and I had just packed up our fur baby and all of our belongings and moved all the way across the country from California to Georgia, looking to simplify our lives so that we could both work part-time and actually have time and memories to make outside of working a 40+ hour work week.

I never thought I would have any issue finding work because of my skill set and work history, plus I've just never had an issue in the past. However, the pandemic brought new challenges, as many of us know lol. Some new friends I had met in the area knew that I was looking for work, and one, in particular, had a family member that was doing virtual assistant work, so she connected us. I was taught how to start and run my own business with this new friend, and her business was growing and seeing a lot of success, so she actually needed to hire a virtual assistant. Since we had been communicating and she had already been training me, she asked me to join her team, and I eagerly accepted! We are still working together all this time later!

It's been such a joy and so exciting to learn about this "new world" and online community and make some really amazing connections with other human beings that are such hard and dedicated workers. It's a whole new beast to be a business owner, and it has to have discipline and the drive to continue to market and find clients, but I really have enjoyed every step of the way, and I would not trade my newfound online business for anything else. I'm even in the middle of a name change, going from Preferred Virtual Services to Sara Marie Marketing!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I'm so happy to say that I was voted "Best of Georgia" for 2022 in the Marketing and Creative category! You can say that my business has come a long way, and I am so excited about all the adventure there is ahead.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Aside from the struggle of building my business from the ground up during the pandemic, something that I have personally always struggled with is time management. Now, as a business owner, I have complete free will and an open and flexible schedule (which I absolutely love); however, that comes with the downside of needing to have discipline and consistency, which is something that just is not a part of my personality. If you know anything about the Enneagram personality spectrum, I am a 7w8… that should tell you everything, LOL. In all honesty, I really struggle with the idea of having to consistently market my business, and I know that sounds crazy because didn't I just say I was changing my business name to Sara Marie Marketing!? I genuinely love and thrive on marketing and getting visible to bring in more leads, which is exactly what I help my clients do. However, I am also an imperfect human and experience burnout from time to time, and as I said earlier, we moved out to Georgia to work part-time, so it can be challenging to maintain that part-time schedule and know where to draw the boundaries.

This is exactly why I specialize in Optimization and Content Batching. I have created a service that costs less than hiring a monthly Social Media Manager, but you're getting all of the skills and experience of a Social Media Manager, Marketing Strategist, and overall Social Media Marketing expert. I've taken my own struggle with not having the time, some days not having the desire to be on social media (or let's be honest, most days not having the desire), but still knowing the necessity of marketing my business on these platforms. So, the solution? I provide 90 days of content across four different social media platforms, and I complete all of this content for my clients in just one week. Yes – 90 days of content in ONE week! So, you better believe I do this for myself as well!

It really just gives that sigh of relief to know that I have an entire quarter's worth of social media content that is optimized to market my business and get new leads. I've taken my own struggle with Social Media Marketing and created a solution that I now offer as a service to service-based female entrepreneurs with the same struggle. I love to optimize and batch out their social media marketing and content!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start. Just start and start messy. You won't have it all figured out, and that's ok, but EARN as you learn!
  2. Try new things. You may not like what you're currently doing, so mix it up and find a service or offer that you actually enjoy doing. Don't be afraid to change!
  3. Over-deliver. Most of my clients have come from social media AND referrals. It's so important to offer a spectacular client experience so that those clients continue to refer new business your way!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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