I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandy Gholston, who has more than 20 years of award-winning professional experience, including graphic design, journalism, marketing PR, public relations and media relations. Sandy is the News Services and Social Media manager at Ferris State University, in Michigan, and is the founder and CEO of SG3 Communications, a full-service digital marketing agency. His passion and talents include creative writing, photography and broadcasting football and basketball games on the radio.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? My story is one that is rich with a lot of twists and turns. As a college student in my home state of Michigan, at my alma mater Ferris State University, I developed my passion for writing. I blended one passion, writing, with another, sports. That was the start of my journalism career at Ferris’ student newspaper. I transitioned into a professional career writing for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering Ferris State University Athletics and the local high schools. After 10-plus years of award-winning work as a writer, a columnist, a photographer and a designer, I started the next phase of my professional career working at Ferris in the University Advancement and Marketing division. I started as a marketing specialist. In short order, I moved back toward the media as I took over our News Services department, working in public relations. Eleven years later, I’m still working on Ferris even as I’ve taken on a new challenge: being an entrepreneur. I started my company, SG3 Communications. In addition to all that, on the side, if you will, I am a radio announcer for Ferris’ football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? Before I started, I invested a great deal of time studying the landscape. I did a lot of the usual stuff like market research, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of my situation and interviewed other entrepreneurs to pick their brains. Advertising can be expensive. However, I invested significant resources into advertising in getting the word out about my business. However, my first two clients came via word of mouth, recommendations from people who knew me and trusted me to work with people they care about. A good reputation can pay off. So, the lesson is to work hard to advertise your business, but don’t forget to make the personal contacts that could bring you leads.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? I was prepared to sign my first client to a contract when my company was literally just getting off the ground. I was so excited during the negotiations until I realized something: I had not developed a contract. Needless to say, I had a long night of work to put the contract together, got it signed, and the rest, as they say, is history. The client didn’t know any better, but I did. It was a good lesson to learn. I had so many of the pieces of the puzzle in place, but I needed one more.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story? What makes SG3 Communications stand out is that we bring a broad range of experiences to every client or potential client that I encounter. I’m good at becoming a true partner to my client to help them work through challenges and build on successes at the same time. Additionally, I have a network of partners I can call upon for a variety of services. This network is a significant component of what makes my company, though small right now as an upstart, high-quality in the services we can deliver. We have seasoned professionals with proven track records. When I first started my company, I had associates from my past and present who reached out to me offering to work with me, to work with SG3 Communications. It pays to have a network of talented professionals.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Pursue your passions, vigorously. But … pace yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember to take time to do the things that you enjoy and to be with the people who make life worth living. Don’t work yourself into the ground. Live a full life. A significant part of that is enjoying life’s pleasures. That balance you bring to your life will pay off personally and professionally.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? I am blessed to know several entrepreneurs who have achieved success. That they are friends is a bonus for me. We continuously network and inspire each other. I could name one, in particular, but that would shortchange others who have made a significant impact on my life. The exciting part is that a few of these entrepreneurs are in the same field I’m in. We are supportive of each other. The most influential people in my life, the ones who have inspired me most, are my parents who always believed in me and pushed me to pursue greatness. My mom remains supportive and my dad, who passed away in 2004, continues to inspire me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Yes. I always take on at least one client, pro bono, as a service. Many potential clients have great businesses or promising brands and need a start. This is where I like to come in to find a client that I can boost. Additionally, I partner with the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at Ferris State University to mentor students and give them real-world experience working with external clients. This relationship has been beneficial to the PRSSA students, to me and to my business.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? “Faith is the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase,” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This is one of many quotes that inspire me. Then again, many things about Dr. King can serve as inspiration. This quote inspired me as I was ready to start my business. When you start something, like a business, you don’t know how every step of your journey is going to play out nor do you know how the journey is going to end.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t waste too much time thinking about it that you stop yourself from doing it. I thought about it for years before I finally made my move.
- Seek out and solidify partners you trust. Doing this gives you a trusted ally who hopefully shares your goals.
- Have a mission, believe in your mission. Trust that what you’re doing is the right thing, the right way.
- Write a thorough business plan. Think through your business plan, carefully.
- Seek out a trusted, knowledgeable mentor. Find this person and use this person as an essential resource.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂 I would start a movement that would have a public college education fully funded for students. I believe this would make us a more educated society, it would relieve student loan debt, and I’m confident that would also benefit our economy. An educated population is a progressive population.
How can our readers follow you on social media? I am all over the place in social media.
Here are some personal social media accounts:
Here are my SG3 Communications accounts:
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Learn How Digital Nomad Ksaveras Jancauskas Is Disrupting The Instagram Marketing Industry
Ksaveras Jancauskas is a digital nomad who helps industry leaders and businesses, spanning different countries, to grow their online presence via Instagram and scale their brand.
So far, Ksaveras started and scaled his Instagram marketing agency to a 6-figure firm. The well-known brands and non-profits such as RepresentUS and GivePower Foundation been clients of Ksaveras. The biggest turning point for Ksaveras was when he was able to grow brands to over 221,000 real followers in just ten days!]
In this article, Ksaveras shares how he climbed up the industry ladder and became the successful digital marketer he is today.
If you’ve heard about Ksaveras before then you’ve probably heard of the Instagram Leverage Framework. The Instagram Leverage Framework is the brainchild of Ksaveras and is referred to as a system that helps anyone assert their authority in their industry.
With this system, Ksaveras has generated ten times return on investment (ROI) for different businesses on Instagram. This is why he’s one of the most sought after Instagram experts in the world.
At the start of his journey to success, Ksaveras faced a significant amount of challenges. His biggest challenge was that he trusted a lot of unqualified individuals to carry out his task. Slowly but surely, his brand was no longer sought after by prospects.
“I tried taking shortcuts by delegating my work to individuals who offered cheap prices, but in turn, they gave my clients a lot of substandard results.” -Ksaveras says.
In due time, he learned that trust is a belief that has to be built and that taking words for a fact without testing can prove detrimental to the status of a business. Ksaveras also shares that it’s important to test a product before you sell it. He’s acknowledged the fact that it’s better to employ individuals yearning to learn and improve on their craft every day than to outsource to a third party “professionals.”
Values and Principles
Ksaveras is a proud advocate of the “learn something new every day” movement. He never rests on his laurels and no matter the level of success he attains, he doesn’t get comfortable.
Everyone in his industry learns how to grow Instagram accounts and then complacency sets in. Instead of following the status quo, Ksaveras improves himself every day and according to him, he knows more about Instagram than Instagram knows about themselves.
Garrett Atkins- Making Use of Full-Service Digital Platforms to Serve Others
With the advent of the internet and advanced technologies, many business-minded people are investing in this sector. In fact, the number of people who have become reputed and wealthy online entrepreneurs has surged over the past 10 years. Among the reputed entrepreneurs who have stood out in the market, entrepreneur Garrett Atkins is a class above his peers.
At the age of 27 years, Garrett Atkins owns one of the successful full-service digital advertising companies. He is the Chief Executive Officer of VIE Media, a company based in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also the founder and a major stakeholder in St. Louis Podcast.com, the only and the most incredible podcast recording studio in the region.
What Does Garrett Atkins Advertising Business Focus On?
Through his VIE Media; Mr. Atkins has been working with many household brands that have also taken advantage of his full-service digital advertising platform. These labels include The UPS Store, Better Homes & Garden, Metro Powered by T-Mobile and Sansone Group. Other notable brands include Farmers Insurance and Arsenal Credit Union among others.
For small business owners, VIE Media has been a blessing. Thanks to incredible leadership and guidance of Garrett, the company has been working with numerous renowned start-ups as well as small to medium-sized businesses. The good news is that Garrett has been responsible for the establishment and growth of these relationships that have led to these incredible partnerships.
Significantly, through his podcast recording studio, Garrett Atkins has changed the livelihood of many people looking for a means to share and view content online. His podcast has been using advanced technology such as 4K video recording of the podcast.
Through his podcast, it has been easy for his clients content to be distributed to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and other incredible platforms. Luckily for most of his clients, the content is also perfect to distribute via social media.
The most common platforms many of his clients use are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. This has been possible due to the implementation of high-quality videos.
Garrett Atkins has been an Inspiration to Many People
It is not all about making money when it comes to Garrett Atkins’s endeavors. He is also a motivational public speaker who has inspired many people. He has been using social media, podcasting, and leadership to inspire many people not only in St. Louis but also in many other parts of the world.
Among the great event, he has graced as a keynote speaker is the St. Louis Live2Lead event, an event that focuses on leadership.
Garrett believes firmly that in life, those who do good things will then be rewarded down the road. Not because we live in some type of fantasy land but rather because people take notice of the good deeds you do and people to admire such things. They admire these things so much that they are also willing to work and provide a helping hand to those who are making a positive impact.
What More Garrett Atkins has to Offer?
Mr. Atkins believes in the mantra that; nothing feels better than helping another human being. He is a Board of Directors of KMA Foundation, a non-profit organization that works together with the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The main focus of the organization has been to identify roads where there is a high rate of fatalities and make necessary changes to reduce such deaths. Through this organization, Garrett Atkins and his team have been traveling to many high schools enlightening students about safe driving techniques and sensitizing the importance of safe driving.
The organization has also been offering a scholarship to needy students. Mr. Atkins has been a staunch believer of good relationships and he believes they are the best way to serve other peoples’ interests. He wants to always be recognized as a great content creator, entrepreneur, public speaker, and a devoted philanthropist.
How to Beat the Odds in Life with “Your Favorite Online Trapper” Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams’ success is a classic story of falling on hard times and rising back up by reinventing himself. Before finally realizing his potential. From getting caught in one of the biggest marijuana busts to becoming one of the most promising and successful young entrepreneurs and economists. This young man has come a long way. At 24, Anthony Williams has achieved more than many of his age. His life story has been awe-inspiring, and it was only his determination and perseverance that he has allowed him to overcome all the difficulties that came his way and has become the man of influence and substance that he is today. Let’s take a closer look at his life and the struggles that he had to go through in a little detail.
Anthony Williams – An Eventful Life full of Struggles
Born in the twin cities St Paul- Minneapolis, Anthony was abandoned by his parents while he was still a kid. Raised amidst immense hardships by his grandmother, “Nanny,” he had seen all sorts of eventualities and difficulties coming through. Anthony recalls a police raid at his mom’s residence as his first memory since he was born. He then later lived in a Public Housing Project, called “The Rose” with his Nanny and his other siblings.
The harsh reality of life hit him hard when he and his family were kicked out of the rose when he was 17 and was rendered homeless. This was just before he was about to enter his senior year at high school. He would have perhaps perished in oblivion had one of his best friends who co-coincidentally also goes by the name of Anthony would not have helped him. Anthony, then moved into his friend’s house and lived there for a good five years till the age of 23.
While living with his now extended family, he had too little money to afford to go to a community college and hence had to drop out in less than two months of attending St. Paul Community College. He was forced into the world of drug dealing to make ends meet while working a job, but even that was barely enough for him to survive alongside his newly found family. The worst was about to come in 2017 when a Minnesota Police Patrol team intercepted a truck full of marijuana and had charged Anthony for possessing 50 kgs (nearly $2M worth) of it since he was also in the pick-up truck. He went to jail as well and had to fight a legal battle to beat the case against him. His good friend and an exemplary lawyer Daniel Repka helped him to win the case.
Having seen his life and struggles, let’s look at his success story as well.
Successes and Achievements
Anthony started with day trading in the Foreign Exchange Market initially and kept digging in the world of finance and banking, and after acquiring enough knowledge, he helped his mentor with improving his credit so that he could qualify to buy a Lamborghini SVJ. Since then, there has been no looking back, and he has been named as “The Numbers Guy” or “Your Favorite Online Trapper.”
At the age of 24, he has achieved quite a lot for any 24-year old. He has been successful in creating the first-ever hybrid company involving Finance and Education in Minnesota. His expert knowledge about numbers, money, and the financial markets has made him a sought after name by many independent Financial and Banking institutions. He is an A-list Board Certified Credit Consultant and is FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), and FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) certified. Anthony has helped clients with institutions as well as the end customers with his expert consultant services. When wearing his suits, Anthony proudly wears his Star Achiever Award lapel pin that he received during his early days in business as a Network Marketer for his exemplary service.
Anthony Williams – The Man with a Vision
With all that said, Anthony makes it pretty clear that he is into this business to help others. Perhaps that is much to do with the deep-rooted pain he had gone through being financially weak in his teens. He envisions, creating a system where people understand finance and the importance of money and how to go about increasing one’s worth, value, and credit through means of teaching financial literacy and investing.
His vision is to continuously create a delightful client and student experience showing that human touch, love, and compassion towards people with their particular financial problems. His purpose is to not only provide solutions to them but also to make them feel the way nobody else can make them feel when handling the sensitive topic of money — your friend in the financial arena.
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