Name: Camille Tintle, Owner
Business Name: Tintle Digital Marketing
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Describe your business
I run a boutique Facebook/Instagram advertising agency specializing in e-commerce. We have a small team comprised of myself as the primary ad expert, an operations and finance manager (my husband), a graphic designer, and a junior ad manager.
Tell us about your self-employment journey.
In 2013, I was working for a non-profit startup in San Francisco and it gave me a crash course in communications, marketing and business development. It was my first “real job” post-college and I was very green yet ambitious when it came to business.
That job was very fast-paced and exciting, with lots of travel and I was surrounded by many entrepreneurs. I learned A TON about the marketing world and realized that I disliked the workaholic and fast-track-to-burn-out mentality of the tech world. I knew there had to be so much more to life and I wanted to control my work hours to have a better work/life balance.
I was allowed to work from home and while traveling for work. This was a HUGE revelation and I discovered that working from home suits me as an introvert. While some jobs did offer remote or semi-remote status, those were few and far between. At that time, working from home was synonymous with being self-employed.
All of these things planted the seed for my interest and drive to become self-employed.
In early 2013, I was ready for a change and to leave San Francisco. I had just learned about oDesk (now Upwork) and a friend told me that I could work remotely and start my own business by offering my services on that platform.
I became obsessed with the idea of designing a business on my own terms: revolving around my desire to work from home (or while traveling), for as many or few hours that I wanted, and having control over my income.
In the Bay Area and tech culture, I felt pressured to conform to certain business standards, which frustrated me. I longed for a career to be on my terms- that wasn’t dictated by someone else and that I didn’t feel guilty about.
So, in 2013, I did something really wild: I leaped into self-employment by quitting my job with no backup. That was scary and definitely foolish- but simultaneously invigorating and a huge relief.
As a newbie freelancer, I offered social media management simply because that was my background. But I wasn’t passionate about it. After a year as a social media manager, I learned that most of my clients wanted to grow much faster than what was possible with organic posting.
I suggested that we give some online advertising a shot and they were open to it. I experimented with Twitter, Google and Facebook/Instagram ads, and saw immediate success with Facebook/Instagram advertising. I began focusing exclusively on Facebook/Instagram advertising and offering these services to other clients.
This path has been extremely lucrative and is why, seven years later, I only provide Facebook/Instagram advertising services. Figuring out how to perfect the ads and all the parameters to elicit the best response is like a game to me. It’s incredibly fun and exciting when my client multiplies their revenue due to my expertise and effort.
Being self-employed for seven years, I can easily say that this self-employment journey has brought more meaning, challenge (in the best way possible!), and joy to my life than I ever expected. I didn’t realize how rewarding it could be to build a business from the ground up and craft it around my life, work preferences and skill set (vs the other way around). On par with marrying my husband, it was the best decision I’ve made.
What area of your business are you most passionate about?
I’m passionate about turning what is often a complicated and overwhelming endeavor into a painless money-making machine for my clients. It takes years to master Facebook and Instagram ads and it’s not something one can just “pick up” easily.
That being said, many business owners try to take a stab at it themselves. When they do, it can be incredibly TOUGH and costs them a lot of money as they grapple with learning these intricate platforms.
Helping promising businesses grow is what makes this line of work rewarding. For example, we took on a young, sweet, smart and ambitious client in late Spring. She was trying to grow her two year old business but struggled to figure out Facebook ads.
We helped her craft a new personalized strategy specific to her niche and business goals. In just a few months of running a Facebook ad campaign, we helped turn her dream into a full-time, thriving business and 5x’d her revenue…and still growing!
It feels amazing to be responsible for this growth (complimenting the awesome foundation she built) and help her accomplish so much more with her business!
What’s the most valuable thing you learned early in your career that has contributed to your success?
That you’re capable of doing more than you think. I heard that from a project manager at Google who used to have his team set lofty, unattainable-seeming goals.
It seemed like a strange exercise, but he said they often surprised themselves by achieving and surpassing those goals, simply because they wrote them down and set the intention.
This has been 100% true in my career. A few years ago, I started adding income goals on our vision board, literally putting the amount of money I want us to make each month. When we reach the goal, I cross out that number and put in the next goal.
Each new threshold is at a height that feels just outside of my comfort zone. Yet I’ve reached these seemingly out of reach income goals every time.
Even though it’s difficult to get started and it takes perseverance, there’s no glass ceiling in self-employment. You get to make the rules and determine what types of milestones, financial or otherwise, you want to achieve.
Being clear about those milestones and writing them down makes all the difference between you wanting them and you achieving them.
How are you pivoting your business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
In March we lost a few clients who were focused on local lead generation and I realized that I wanted to niche down further into Facebook ads for e-commerce.
This was such a good decision since everything is already online and even more so now given the pandemic. Q2 was stressful at first (just like it was for most), but in Q3 we got back to normal levels and, for Q4, (knock on wood!) we anticipate the highest quarter to date.
We’re also working on online educational products about Facebook advertising. Being in the advertising world for seven years, I have a plethora of knowledge and want to help DIY business owners who are struggling to do it on their own.
Our Facebook ad services aren’t cheap. I used to offer hourly consulting for business owners who wanted to learn how to run ads themselves. Consulting took a lot of energy and it wasn’t sustainable long-term- especially because it detracted me from what I love to do, managing Facebook/Instagram ads for my clients.
I realized that instead of talking to individual business owners and repeating the same thing, I should put this knowledge in one place, package it together and sell it to multiple people.
Our team has slowly been putting together products that will help business owners learn to develop and manage a Facebook ad campaign on their own. It’s been time-consuming on the front-end, but it will save me time in the long run and I know it will be well worth it!
What’s a recent project that you’ve worked on that you’re really excited about?
We’ve been working on our free Facebook/Instagram advertising guides and paid products for business owners and are so excited to launch more this fall! We’re now offering a scaling checklist, tips for doubling your ROAS (return on ad spend), a copywriting guide, a top-performing e-commerce strategy and more coming soon.
We’ve also been showcasing case studies and examples of our ad campaigns with our clients, including highlighting the amazing e-commerce growth that’s possible during the COVID pandemic.
Are you a part of any freelancer communities? Which ones and how do they support you?
I am part of two paid Facebook ad agency mastermind communities: Cat Howell and Nic Kusmich. Both have been immensely helpful as they pertain specifically to the Facebook advertising agency world.
I’m a part of Freelancing Females, which is a free Facebook group. Since the start of my freelancing career, I’ve also been on Upwork and find their resources very helpful.
What advice would you give other self-employed people?
Make sure you have crystal clear boundaries and don’t let others dictate how you should develop or run your business. It’s YOUR business and not theirs. YOU get to decide how you want to run your business and what your personal and professional boundaries are.
Without these boundaries, you won’t be happy. I didn’t think I would make such a great living working from home, with part-time hours, and only communicating with clients online. But this is all a reality because I focus on what I want and am constantly reinforcing those boundaries while staying committed to providing a top-notch service.
I recently read that the people who whine about your boundaries usually need them the most, and I believe that is true. Don’t let those people sway you and knock your boundaries down!
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