Amandah Blackwell | Founder of Savvy-Writer
Success leaves clues.
Finance Strategists sat down with Amandah Blackwell, founder of Savvy-Writer. She shared her thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insight she gained from running the business.
Who is Amandah Blackwell?
Q: Who are you and what’s your background?
My name is Amandah Blackwell, and I’m a content and digital marketing consultant. I have an Associates and Bachelors of Science degree in accounting, a graphic design certification, and a Master of Science, Management degree. I’m certified in SEO and PPC through SEMrush (working toward other certifications), certified in social media through the Curalate platform, and taking coding courses via Codecademy.
I’ve always loved marketing and ended up in the field in a roundabout way, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Why? Because my unique background and experience stand out from the crowd and many clients have told me that’s why they’ve hired me.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?
I fell into digital marketing in 2008 right when the housing bubble burst. I was living in Chandler, Arizona, and Phoenix was one of the areas hit hard. At this time, many newspapers were letting journalists go. Those who found themselves out of jobs had to pivot and reinvent themselves. I related to this because I decided to move to AZ from the Midwest and changed careers at the same time. I knew if they could reinvent themselves, and in some instances, start their own freelance writing businesses along with creating other multiple streams of income, I could do the same.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?
Knowing what I know now, I would have told myself to speak with others who started consulting businesses, and I would have hired a business coach.
Speaking with other consultants would have given me a good sense of what to expect when starting a business. I could have learned valuable information, such as defining your ideal client to set my fees, what type of business to form, and more. And who knows, I may have found a mentor or two with whom I could have kept in close contact—we could have helped each other.
I would have also hired a business coach who could have helped me define my business and build it on a strong foundation. The support and guidance would have been invaluable to me, both personally and professionally.
Q: What is Savvy-Writer?
Savvy-Writer offers content and digital marketing consulting to small, mid-sized, and large businesses in the following industries: accounting, banking/finance, health and wellness, legal, media, nonprofit, real estate, retail, and travel.
The main focuses include SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, social media, and email marketing. Throughout the years, I’ve gotten away from providing content and copywriting for clients. However, if requested, and it makes sense, I’ll write email copy, blog post content, white papers, case studies, social media content, infographic copy, and more. But when it comes to writing projects, I prefer to focus on bigger endeavors, such as books and eBooks. But sometimes marketing managers or directors of digital marketing firms will contact me and ask if I can help with any overflow.
Clients may require a new or even revised digital marketing plan and strategy, content marketing plan and strategy, or content and website audit. Small businesses, especially those that haven’t launched yet or have been operating less than five years, may require more attention. I’ll have more in-depth conversations with owners to understand what it is they need. Website audits take time, and owners may require more conversations around SEO, web design, and finding the best keywords.
Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?
First, clients like my extensive business background, especially my accounting experience. I don’t know what it is, but when they find out that I worked in public accounting and then in the private sector, they seem to be at ease. Perhaps it’s because accountants have a reputation of being dependable and reliable and sticklers for details. After all, business owners do not want to find themselves being audited by the IRS!
Also, I’m careful about outsourcing work because my name and reputation are on the line. Therefore, I’m particular with whom I work because clients expect that I’ll provide the best service possible. Over the years, I’ve met some wonderful people and have built a database of graphic designers, writers, web designers, etc. When I need help, I can reach out to my network and get the assistance that I need quickly.
Q: What led you to start Savvy-Writer?
I didn’t plan on starting Savvy-Writer; it just happened. I traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2007 for the International Fringe Festival and wrote an article about it. When I moved to Chandler, Arizona, in September, I needed to find a job.
While searching for positions, I noticed a marketing analyst and blogger role with a local travel company. I applied for and interviewed for both jobs. Given my accounting, analytical background, the owners knew I would perform well in the marketing analyst role. However, they felt my passion for writing/telling stories and marketing, so they hired me as their blogger. This is where I fell into digital marketing, especially SEO. As a blogger, I had to know how to research keywords and incorporate them into blog posts seamlessly.
The owners of the travel company encouraged me to start my own website, which I did—Savvy-Writer.com. It went through a few themes because web design (thank goodness for templates), and SEO was new to me. The focus of it also changed because when I first started, I wasn’t thinking about using the site to build a business. But I found my way.
Once I accepted that I could earn a living through writing and consulting, things fell into place. I met people I didn’t think I’d meet before—for instance, a life coach invited me to see them speak in Southern California. I networked and met other business owners and those within Chandler and the surrounding communities. I even bartered with a few.
Fast forward 12 years later, and Savvy-Writer is still going. I’ve been blessed to have received many opportunities, like this one, where I share my story with Market Watch readers. I’m grateful for my clients, both past and present, and SW, opening me many doors for me.
Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?
The experience of building a business has taught me that it’s not for the faint of heart. When you first start, you may not only perform the work, but you may be the bookkeeper, marketer, and anything else that your business requires of you. You also have to be okay with saying no to family and friends because you have to work on a project or even figure out how to market your business better. It would be best if you had an inner circle that can handle that you may not always be available, and they have to be okay with that, and so do you.
I’ve also learned that building a business takes patience, something I’ve been working on since I was five, or so my mother has told me over the years. Living in America, I, like many people, have been conditioned to see the result now. After all, hardly anyone ever covers the struggles entrepreneurs go through when starting a business. Why? Because no one wants to read about that! Everyone wants to hear about the end and how the money flows every day, along with all of the connections you never thought were possible and multiple PR opportunities.
Building a business has taught me that I’m stronger than I thought and that I listened to my mom, who always told my sister and me that we could do anything we wanted as long as we were willing to put in the work.
Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?
and see it made. I also wrote two other TV Pilots and have written short films, which I’d like to make, and have ideas for feature films and other projects. I started painting last year and would like to sell my artwork and have it produced in prints. I’d also like to get involved in real estate investing. I want to make as much money as possible so that I can take care of my family and donate more.
The Cost of Missed Opportunities
Many businesses, especially startups, miss out on grand opportunities because of choosing to conduct business the traditional way. Well, this is totally understandable because most of the time taking the unconventional route takes a huge leap of faith and it can be very risky for any beginner.
Let’s take it from Amandah Blackwell’s advice to her younger self. Hiring a business coach was something she said she would have done during the early stage of her business. While this may seem like an additional cost for most businesses, it actually is a cost-saver in many other areas. Hiring a coach such as a financial advisor can actually help you sort out the complexities of the business. Financial advisors provide smart strategies in investing, assist in choosing better loan opportunities, and give advice on handling assets, taxes, debts, and insurances to make sure that business goals are met. Hiring a financial advisor can actually save you from missing grand opportunities, costly mistakes, and unforeseen risks that may harm your business along the way.