Who: Carrie Kerpen
Where: Port Washington, New York
Job: CEO and Co-Founder Likeable Media
Podcast: All the Social Ladies
Carrie Kerpen is a master of the social media world. Her podcast, All the Social Ladies with its Beyonce-esque vibe, sets the standard for interviews with women who have leveraged social media to build the most amazing careers. I am personally a huge fan of her Carrie Cubed video series where she not only shares social media tips and insights that are right on point, but also delivers them in the most entertaining way.
When Carrie opened her company, Likeable Media, her client list ramped up fast. So she started hiring. But then she had to pay up. And that's where things got tricky.
Carrie’s Grownup Moment:
My Financial Grownup moment came when I was already quite a grownup. I had started my own company. I had a daughter already. I knew how to manage a checkbook. I was pretty much a grownup. But I had built this company, Likeable, and over time it had grown. I started low key. I was a consultant. I was doing social media consulting. Then it started to grow. I started hiring more and more and more people, and working with larger brands. So one of the things nobody tells you when you run a business like this is when you start winning large brands and you start hiring people it gets very exciting! But you have to hire people to service brands a lot of times before they pay you. The bigger the brand, the longer it takes for them to pay you. And so there was a point where I had about 40 employees. I was working with huge brands. I had hired up because I needed to make sure that I could service these brands. And yet my cash was running tight. I started the business like I said as a consultant with $10,000 in the bank. I didn’t have a huge access to capital. Never raised money. Never did any of that. So I had sat there and I knew that I had to make payroll, and I just transfered my last $10,000 in savings to supplement the payroll for my 40 employees. It’s not that the money wasn’t coming in. It was just a matter of timing. I totally lost it. I was so freaked out. And so I was like how could I do this. I have a family and I’m funding these other people I don’t understand how this all works. I just wanted to offer social media consulting. When did it get this complicated? And so what I did was I went to a bunch of advisors who had done this before. Much bigger and better than I had, and said ‘what do I do in these circumstances’ and they gave me some great advice. I ended up getting a line of credit from the bank. I figured out how to do that. I ended up working on some pre-pay strategies and some pre-payment discounts so that if people paid earlier they were incentivized. And I also worked on really being careful with hiring and it helped me put a lot of discipline in place.
Carrie’s Lesson to Share: No matter how much of a financial grownup you think you are personally, sometimes it is a whole different ballgame when you go into business. And I would say the other piece that is kind of universal whether you are in business or not is seek out advice and don’t be afraid to talk about money or money challenges with others. People have been through this before and a lot of times they will have advice that you would have never thought of because you just simply haven’t encountered that challenge before.