Danielle Fewings has been a business owner for a number of years, but after having challenging experiences with various marketing companies, she decided to invest in herself and learn how to effectively run marketing which is how Styledaf Consulting was born.
Troy: Good afternoon, Austin. welcome everyone today on, Tuesday kind of a little bit warmer Tuesday after some cold days that were a little too cold for my liking, but, like in the nice fall weather, other than the rollback of the cloth, it's really hard to get used to that 5:00 PM sunset going on, but I'm grateful to be joined today by Daniel fuelings. She is the owner of styled AF consulting. appreciate you joining me today, Danielle.
Danielle: Thanks so much for having me.
Troy: So, I had kind of connected with you through one of the various Facebook groups and kind of, always doing stuff on different social media platforms and had kind of seen a little bit about your story, but why don't you kind of give maybe a little bit of, kind of a couple of minutes, maybe version of your origin story. I know a lot of people aren't originally from Austin, and so that's always kind of interesting to see where people are from and some different things there. So tell me a little bit about yourself.
Danielle: Awesome. So yeah, I'm originally from, reluctant to say this, Southern California.
Troy: So as a realtor, I'm great, very grateful for Southern California. Cause it's, you know, it keeps me employed very, very nicely, but, yeah, you're, you're, you're one of many. So you have strength in numbers, at least
Danielle: Definitely a lot of us. So I moved to Austin about three and a half years ago and I used to have an online boutique and that is very, very challenging business to own. And it takes up a lot of space, whether in a warehouse or at your own house, whoever you want to do it. And last year I hired a marketing company to help me grow my business and did not go as planned. So after losing a ton of money with them, I decided, forget this. I'm just going to teach myself everything about Facebook ads. And so I spent the entire year last year, really just diving in and learning as much as I could about Facebook ads. And as I started to learn, I realized I liked doing that much more than having the boutique. And so it's much less stressful, believe it or not. And, started helping other small business owners with their Facebook ads. And so totally closed the boutique at the beginning of this year. And it has really grown. I think it's important to have a niche and figure out what that niche is, and that has really worked in my favor. And so here we are today, 10 months into this brand new business and I'm obsessed with it.
Troy: Very nice. You mentioned moving here from Southern California about three years ago. had you grown up in Southern California or
Danielle: Yeah, I grew up in Southern California and then California is very expensive as you know, and especially being a small business owner, the taxes, et cetera, just gotta be so crazy. And I really just thought I needed to get out of California. See what else is out there. And I knew Texas could be a good fit and especially Austin and I had never even been here. Somebody was like, you would probably really like Austin. I thought, well, that sounds good. And so I picked up and moved and loved it. I have amazing friends here. I think, I always say like, I feel like myself in Austin compared to California.
Troy: That's awesome. So it kind of just did it sight unseen or did you come visit at least once
Danielle: Sight unseen
Troy: Nice. That's even more bold than I was, which was came down and visited, relatives up in Georgetown for a long weekend and said, yeah, this will work and make the move down had, so you obviously had your boutique while you were in California as well, since it was just online, obviously there was the ability to kind of move and still do that.
Danielle: Yeah. And that's what was really convenient and made it easy to leave. Is there wasn't like a brick and mortar or anything. So I just packed up everything and brought it all out here.
Troy: Very nice. What got you into owning your own business, wanting to be an entrepreneur in the first place
Danielle: So I used to do small business consulting and then from that this opportunity to have a boutique kind of just fell in my lap. And I ran with that for about four years. So it wasn't even, I was going to do it as like a side business to pay off my student loans and it just took over. And so I quit my full-time job about six months after starting the boutique and then just continued on, continued on until, you know, things shift and change a little bit for within life. And I really go where what feels good
Troy: Well, especially as a small business owner, you definitely have to be prepared to make shifts in life and business based off what's going on. And then on top of that for, I mean, fortunately being online, was I'm sure beneficial during the pandemic, but at the same point in time at the very start of that, like there was no retail that was very successful initially, just because everyone was, concerned about what was going to happen in general, but was most, most in that regard was most of your stuff sourced here in the U S or did you, would you run into problems there too about supply chain stuff being outside the U S and trying to get product in the country
Danielle: Well, even at the beginning of the pandemic, anything that was manufactured in the United States, they were all shut down in LA as well. And so there were rules, like if they were making masks, they could stay open so they could make the masks. And then in addition, make whatever sort of clothing they were going to manufacture as well. So there was a little bit of a downtime, but then once that issue got sorted out, there was really no speed bumps.
Troy: And again, one of the huge advantages of, of having a business online, versus brick and mortar. So you're a couple years into the boutique and you're trying to grow it even further, which is why you were diving into the Facebook ads space.
Danielle: Yeah, that was really what it was. I was feeling pretty stagnant and frustrated and I thought, well, I need to advertise. And I don't know anything about Facebook ads. I mean, I shouldn't say, I didn't know anything. I knew a tiny bit, but not enough, really to even be dangerous. And so this company became really highly recommended and very, very expensive. And so you really think like you get what you pay for. They are successful with some people. I shouldn't say they're not because some people are still using them, but, it just, wasn't a good fit. And I've come to realize since then, like you have to have a foundation for your business before you start advertising. And so like I asked them why my ads weren't converting and they couldn't tell me. And that was a huge red flag for me. And so I wanted to dig in and see like, well, why aren't my ads converting
Danielle: Because at the end of the day, Facebook has more data on every single person on this planet than we have on ourselves. And so if you pay Facebook money to convert that it's going to convert the things that prevent it from converting are usually on the other side of the business. And so, as I was digging into that and figuring it all out, I thought, well, this is a foundation that I can apply to myself if I want to continue the boutique. But then since I've dissolved that I really, really pushed that with my own clients, is that no matter your business, you have to have that foundation on the other side of the ad. Otherwise you're throwing money away.
Troy: Yeah. I know. people and occasionally my own frustration sometimes where you feel like, oh, you know, the Facebook ads don't work and it's like, well, no, just because you haven't gotten them to work doesn't mean that they don't work, but it can be sometimes like a black box as far as figuring out what has gone wrong in the process. Right. Because like a lot of things, it's definitely a process. And so there's everything from the, the actual creative and the ad itself to who you're, who you're trying to get that ad in front of, to the end product, right Like if you're not actually reaching out to the people that are responding to your habits, you know, they're usually not going to just sell themselves.
Danielle: Yeah. You absolutely have to have a full, process of full flow. However you want to word it in order for the ads to be successful. And you really could, like, if you're going to sell a water bottle at, you could target people who drink water and post the water bottle. And if everything on the other side is set up the way it's supposed to, those water bottles will sell. And so you just really have to figure it all out. And it can sometimes, I mean, I think that's, what's really a big key to having a niche market is I can go and look at any e-commerce website and tell you exactly why their ads are converting now, just because it's usually like the same things over and over, over again. And, but like if there were like a realtor, for example, who's asthma and converting, that might be a little bit different story. It might take me a minute to dig around and figure it out. But with e-commerce, it's usually the same things over and over.
Troy: so I was gonna say that too, with the company that you did hire previously where they potentially expert, I do feel like on the, on Facebook marketing types of things that, that companies, people tend to not realize that there are, that there's being good at it, but that it can sometimes be, prod in a product, but service or business kind of specific, right. Because the same things that may work for any commerce store or are different than for a realtor are different than for a landscaping company. And so do you think that was potentially one of the issues with that company that you had initially hired Was they just, they, you weren't, you didn't fit into the niche of types of companies that they were successful with
Danielle: No. they specifically focused on e-commerce. So you would think that that would have been a good fit, but they really weren't digging into the foundation of the business. And so they weren't saying, Hey, you need to, you know, for a boutique, you need to have sizing information on every single product you need to not be sold out of six out of eight sizes and every single product you need to make sure you have your abandoned cart, retargeting emails, all set up correctly, all these sorts of things that can go into it. you need to have inventory, right Those sort of things. They didn't really push. And granted it's also, I take responsibility as well. Like I didn't look into these sort of things. Like what, on the other side of the ad is going to make the ad work Because I think a lot of people do think either people think either Facebook ads don't work or I could spend a thousand dollars a day and become rich. And it's like, I see this all the time now where I have people that are spending two to $300 a day and the ads are not converting. And I'm like, well, here's exactly why you, you know, your things aren't priced correctly. You don't have sizes, you are sold out of things, et cetera.
Troy: Yeah, no, it's, it's, again, it's definitely a skill as in. And I think part of that too, is the fact that as Facebook has matured as a platform and has gotten more and more advertising money into it, it's harder to advertise poorly and have it be successful where 5, 10, 5, 10 years ago, you could kind of advertise poorly. But because there wasn't a lot of other advertisers necessarily, it made it easier for that still to succeed.
Troy: So is there kind of on those tips too So like, what types of things do you think are most important, you know, aside from the ad, what types of things are most important for those businesses to have in place to make the ad successful You kind of talked about a few of them. There are things like the sizing and having, stuff in stock, which seems like it should be a pretty basic concepts, you know, but again, sometimes it's not.
Danielle: Yeah, so some of the bigger things, definitely having product details and just to like widen that a little bit further, depending on what type of business they have, whether it's e-commerce or a realtor website, it's really SEO. And so if you have, I use this example all the time, like I've never even been on a skateboard, but I recently bought a pair of vans shoes from an Instagram ad. And I afterwards was like, wait, why were they targeting me But they, like, you would think that Facebook is just matching vans to people that like skateboarding or snowboarding or whatever. But really what it's taking doing is it's using a broader, search engine optimization, focusing on the details on the website specifically to that product, or if you don't have products, the whole SEO website. So the van shoes, I read the product description and I was like, oh, I need these because I like to go outside and hiking, you know, Austin recently has colder weather.
Danielle: They're like all weather type shoes. So it really use the product details and the SEO to match the product with a potential buyer, which it's matching based on all the data points it has on me. So really creating a robust SEO on your website and on the products, if you're an e-commerce store that speak to your ideal client. And so that's huge, huge, huge, if you are doing e-commerce pictures that convert, or like, you'd be surprised some of the pictures that people post of clothes or of themselves in the clothes, it's like, people need to see what they're buying and have confidence in what it looks like. And again, also how it fits. and the biggest thing I think actually that is probably something you wouldn't assume that makes a Facebook ad, not work is lack of communication between you and your marketer.
Danielle: And I really started to encounter this a lot with some of the clients I was taking on who they would just like, wouldn't respond to me. Like they would send me a picture and say, Hey, run an ad with this. And I'm like, okay, well, let's talk this through. This picture is not going to work. Let me explain why. And I'd be like a week before I hear from them. And I'm like, I can't be successful if you're not communicating with me. So I've actually like dropped clients because of the communication issues we've had, where it's like, I don't want to waste your money. This is infuriating to me. And it's not bringing me joy to try and work for you. So that's the biggest thing I think that people forget about is there has to be two way communication. And so that's huge when you're running Facebook ads.
Troy: Have you, so when you first started the company, you, you were initially, when you first started the consulting side, you were initially doing it basically as a way to run successful ads for your boat. T did you, so then was e-commerce and kind of that, those sales, the initial kind of companies that you tended to focus on for your, for the consulting side of things as well
Danielle: Yeah, specifically. Yeah. E-commerce and a lot of Facebook ad companies are very, very expensive. Like I mentioned earlier, and I really wanted to help people who couldn't afford a $5,000 retainer, a $3,500 retainer. And so, I really worked with wanting to focus on small e-commerce stores who could afford a much smaller budget. And once I got a certain like flow going and system going, I realized how I could not drain myself and still help this very specific niche market. And, I think that's really key is knowing your niche market. And so focusing on those smaller e-commerce stores who can't afford these big budgets is really where, where it's worked, because most people don't want to take them on. And so it's really worked to my benefit.
Troy: Sure. Have there been any other kind of industries that you've, kind of then delved into that you really enjoyed that maybe you wouldn't have necessarily thought of when you first got into it
Danielle: Yeah. So over the course of the year, I have picked up clients in other industries, mostly as a way to see if it is a niche that I could grow and to learn these other platforms. So most people are using one to two different platforms for e-commerce. And so for like coaches. So, you know, people that do business coaching, et cetera, they use a lot of Kajabi Squarespace, that sort of a thing. So I still have one girl that I work with on that. I'm going to have a local musician, which is pretty fun. And so that's really cool to kind of help him in addition to ads, you know, let's, let me give you some tips on your image and, you know, these things are going to convert to get people to come to your shows. Let's just based. I think I can do that based on my own, like history of, you know, following musicians.
Danielle: I also had an internet service provider who was testing some new internet programs on Wimberley. but really I had been doing a little like soul searching is like, where do I want to go in the next year And I think just continuing to focus on e-commerce is probably the best just because I know it inside out. I mean, my blog is like a book at this point based on like tips for e-commerce and that sort of a thing. And so, I mean, there's really no reason to try and reinvent the wheel and might as well just stick with what I know.
Troy: And the, I mean, again, you mentioned having the passion and the excitement for helping these smaller boutiques, that they can can't afford some of the higher priced, marketing companies. But one of the advantages is if you can help them grow, you can, you can kind of grow along with them as well, too. Right So like they're, as they see the results and as they see the success, that's something they're hopefully gonna want to double down on because what, you know, why not continue on that path and continue to grow
Danielle: Oh, absolutely. And I mean, I'm really big into the idea of under promise over deliver. And so I think that's like part of the value also that I try to give them is you're going to grow because I'm not just going to tell you, Hey, your ads, aren't converting. I'm going to tell you why and then how to fix it. So even if you shut the ads off tomorrow, hopefully you're still getting the value of working with me because you now have new tools of how to actually run an efficient e-commerce business.
Troy: Very nice. So w what, what do you think has been your biggest challenge Tran in transitioning from just as a small business owner, whether that was again on the, obviously I'm the e-commerce side of things, or now as a marketing consultant.
Danielle: so I've really the biggest challenge is it sounds silly is really making sure that I stop working. I have a huge wait list and right now, and obviously I could just take on as many clients as I wanted to, and, you know, pay things off, et cetera, et cetera, but really making sure that as I grow, I kind of temper it that way. I can make sure I'm providing the best service to everyone. I'm not overworking myself and that sort of a thing. And so tempering, my growth has been the biggest challenge because everyone wants to grow as big as possible overnight. but I think that's really important to like, sometimes take that step back and say, Hey, Nope, here's my wait list next year, I'll take on new clients. We got to, you know, make sure you don't die during black Friday. I don't die during black Friday. That sort of a thing. So I think it's hard. People have a really hard time doing that. And I see that a lot with my clients where they're like, okay, that ad's working and let's triple our ad spend. And I'm like, I already don't want to do this because I can see your issues of, you know, why you're already not growing. And I don't think you're ready to scale. And people are just like, turn it up, turn it up. Let's go. And I'm like, oh man, this
Troy: Well it's one, right Like obviously most people understand small businesses as that fail because they don't grow at all or they don't grow fast enough to really support themselves. And that's obviously, it's still the majority of small businesses, but it is possible to fail the small business because you try to grow too fast. Rightly say that that boutique that might be doing really well at whatever the revenue number is and thinks, oh, these ads are doing well. we're, we're, you know, we're doing great. Well now suddenly you try to triple that. And if you don't have the inventory, if you don't have the supply chain, the customer service skills that the people in place, like you can give yourself the type of reputation that will lose you clients. And even those clients that you've had in the past, who, you know, when, when things were smaller, but going really smoothly and then suddenly, you know, you're not in business because you can't support the, the larger scale because you don't have all those other in place.
Danielle: Right Yeah. I mean, and I've actually, it's been pretty nice. I've had people that have reached out and I said, you know, here's my wait list. And they're like, I actually appreciate that. You're not taking clients that you don't feel like you can handle it. I'm like, I don't want to drain myself. This is not why I'm not motivated by money essentially. You know so I don't want to drain myself trying to overcompensate and outperform some ambiguous baseline. So it's been nice where people are really appreciative of sitting and waiting on the wait list.
Troy: And then on that same front, are there any plans, again, obviously you, you, you intend to grow, but for you similar than what do you think your next steps will be to try to grow your business, potentially having to hire people on or take slightly, you know, again, because we only have, we all have kind of the same 24 hours in a day, or hopefully, hopefully not that much for work, but you know, the same 10 hours in a work day or whatever that may be, to kind of maximize your, your time and efforts there.
Danielle: So, like I mentioned, I'm usually seeing the same foundational issues with a lot of these e-commerce stores. And so my plan in the beginning of next year is to kind of rework a lot of my blog posts and, turn that into like a coaching program that's super affordable for people and force them to go through it before they start running ads because, you know, sell that. And then that's kind of like the baseline and then we'll go from there with ads, but that's kinda my goal for next year in terms of growth. I really I've had employees before. I don't know if I really want to take on like full employees, again, maybe like an admin or something to do. My consultations is like the only thing I can think of, but I think there is a huge opportunity for, a program that is tactical, coaching of like, here's exactly what to do, how to write a product description, et cetera. And I think that's really where I think my next step is going to be in terms of growth.
Troy: Sure. No, again, similar to these businesses can, can grow too fast and have it not be successful. It's possible for someone like yourself, right. To one, to either go too fast to where it's not accessible or grow to the point where it's not fun, right Like right now you're at a space where it's actually enjoyable. You can see the fruits of your labor to where to grow most businesses. You have to go from being on the front lines to usually being an HR manager type of position. And that's a very different, kind of role in a business that one isn't for everyone either not really great use their talents or too, there's a lot of people who just don't want to have to manage other people. Like that's not necessarily a fun thing to do if it's not something you enjoy.
Danielle: Yeah. And I really liked the hands-on aspect of like being in Facebook ads manager. And like, it's like a puzzle really is let's get the right creative, the right copy, the right audience, the right products, et cetera. And so I really like being in that and figuring it out and being hands-on, but yeah, in order to grow, I have to do something. And so to me, a coaching programs, the answer to that
Troy: One thing. So, have you always enjoyed kind of that figuring, you know, you seem like a very curious person, has that kind of been something that you've always kind of had that nature in you
Danielle: maybe, I mean, it's just, it's so fascinating to me to try and put the pieces together and learning like these no hands, like very tactical technical skills. And so that's like one thing that I really love about it is you go into Facebook ads manager today and tomorrow there'll be something different. And so then you have to like apply that and just change all these things. but yeah, kind of figuring out problems. I think it's always been in my nature to reflect on that sort of thing.
Troy: Yeah. Which is more like, which is more exciting or which part of that do you find, do you enjoy better Do you enjoy the fact that there is this challenge that you have to kind of, go tackle or do you find the actual completing it to kind of be more rewarding Because I feel like for some people, right, like it's the overcoming it is, is where they really oh, great. This is awesome. I was able to overcome it, but for some people, just the thought of having to dig into a new challenge is where that excitement lies.
Danielle: Yeah. Probably the digging. And especially when I have someone who has ran ads before and they're like, I don't know, let me figure out, what's why they didn't work. And I'm like, oh, why don't we get an, I can tell you exactly why I love seeing what other people have tried and then saying like, you're were the messages. Yeah. Definitely digging into it.
Troy: Very cool. Yeah. Which I think is rare for people. Right Like for most people, like the challenge is an obstacle to overcome, to have the success, which obviously you would still want to have the success for your clients as well. But again, I don't th I think that for most people it's that end success and we have to, in a lot of people are rooted rather we'll go through the challenge because they believe they'll have that success versus actually tackling the challenge. Head-on.
Danielle: Yeah. And then I think also like once I figure out, you know, what the issues are, like I said, it's most of the time on the other side of the ad. And so I think a lot of people need a third party to come in and say like, here are three things you need to change. And so getting them motivated also is really motivating to me. And so just saying like, okay, here, it's like, they are looking for answers. They don't know the questions to. And so when you come in and you give them answers and the question that they've been searching for and like the joy that they feel, and they make those changes and start to see how your influences are positively impacting them. It's really cool.
Troy: Yeah. Having that, having an objective third party is key for a lot of things in life, but definitely for something like your ads and your business, and kind of, I remember equating it to, teacher one time, one time talked about math problems. Like if you get a math problem wrong and you look at it the longer you look at it, the more it looks right. Even though it's wrong and you need to kind of step away, like, right. Like once you step away and you come back to it with that fresh set eyes, or in this case, if you're the fresh that eyes, you're like, oh no, I can see where you need to change. You know, like say the pick yet. Yes. It's a picture with the ad, but we need a better picture with the ad or yeah. Your, your call to action is not very clear or we know whatever those types of things are. And so, but when you, when you've created it, you just, you, you know, whoever did it at the first time, they tried their best. And so it feels like it should, should work should be good.
Danielle: Yeah. And you know, I love that saying like, you don't know what you don't know. And so to some people, yeah. This picture of the shirt looks great, but what you don't know is here are 10 reasons why it doesn't work and you don't know what you don't know. So you just have to like lean into that advice that you're getting.
Troy: Nice. So you said you've been on an Austin for about three years,
Danielle: Little over three years.
Troy: Yeah. And so if you started to kind of, obviously found your community and kind of figured out some stuff, one of the things I always like to kind of ask people is kind of what their current favorite Austin restaurant is right now. I, you know, part of the part is when I do that, I'll give you some, I'll sell a little bit. So you can kind of think is that it's like one of mine, interstellar barbecue, recently was awarded the second best barbecue in the state by Texas monthly. And so now I have super long lines when I want to go there. So it's a kind of a shout out to the business, but also if I have to wait in long lines for my favorite restaurant, then I assume everyone else should have to wait in long lines.
Danielle: So I'm going to get so much heat from this. But growing up in Southern California, the food there is so fresh and there's so many options. And so in general, I think Austin, I shouldn't, I I'm just going to say it.
Troy: Awesome. Austin has, Austin has good food and Austin has really good food in a few categories that it does. Well, obviously TexMex Mexican and some different things. But as someone who has always loved Italian food, I don't think that there are, you know, there's definitely not a lot there. I'm sure there are some, a handful of good Italian restaurants, but definitely not to the extent that you would see. And I grew up in the Midwest, so you'd have more Italians quote, unquote, up there. And so like that, I don't feel like is near as good down here in Austin as it, as it is in some other parts of the country. So we're all, we're all, we're all friends here, so, yeah.
Danielle: Okay. Yeah. So in general, I think the Austin food scene is about a three out of a 10. That being said, like, I also don't eat B for pork. And so barbecue is like,
Troy: There's a big, yeah. That is a, you're taking a lot of the, what, what Texans try to do best and D and do well as well. So that's, that does make it harder for sure.
Danielle: Yeah. But my favorite thing probably to eat is the veggie burger at Poole burger. It is so delicious. I've never had anything like it, and it is probably the best veggie burger I've ever had. It is. I mean, I used to eat beef. So even when I did eat beef, probably the best burger I've ever had, they just do it so well. They add beets into the mix and I think that really adds to it, it, oh man, I should go there today. It is so good.
Troy: Okay. Fair enough. So, so with your business, what are, what are other ways you mentioned, obviously having the blog and some different things. So, I'm assuming that's on your website.
Danielle: That is on my website. Yes. If you are an e-commerce business, you can change your entire business just by reading my blog.
Troy: The site for that is
Danielle: It's M style. They have.com. So yeah, right on there. and then you click on blog, but most of my blog posts have come from, I have a client and I'm sending them their weekly report ads. Aren't converting. Here's why I just kind of reformat the why and put it into a blog post,
Troy: And other, other kinds of places for people to follow you. Obviously, I initially saw you on Facebook. And so, I'm sure you have a lot of good stuff there too.
Danielle: Oh yeah. So I'm on Facebook. I am always active in all the local Austin, Facebook groups, but then also on Instagram, Instagram, isn't really like super business oriented for me. It's just like more my,
Troy: I was gonna say this, is it, follow the Instagram, if you want to see if she went and had her burger today.
Danielle: Exactly, exactly. yeah, so Instagram is just like my fun place, but I'm definitely always available on Facebook and my website. Awesome.
Troy: Cool. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to, to chat today. I think a lot of super relevant and important information for small businesses because it's, you know, again, obviously for, for the retail businesses, it's the busy time of year right now, getting ready for black Friday and Christmas. And so it's where, where their money is made. And for, for a lot of other businesses within a year coming up, it's kind of gotta, you know, get those 2020 plans set and on track to make sure they have successful your next year too.
Danielle: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate
Troy: It. Thanks again, everyone. Hope you have a wonderful day.
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