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Daily Inspiration: Meet Lauren Holloway

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Holloway.

Hi Lauren, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Growing up, I had done modeling and acting classes so I was used to “being in front of the camera,” however, I decided when it came to college that I didn’t want to be an actress as I initially thought. My mom used to talk all the time about how she worked in News and how it was a fun job and so I was inspired to go to the film and television route because of her. I went to school for Film & Television and graduated from the University of Tampa with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film & Media Arts. After graduating, I worked at the Golf Channel for two years and was ultimately laid off due to company reorganization. After a six-month job search, I got a job for HSN as an on-call assistant producer and would work there whenever shifts would come up. I was also working retail at the time and would find myself working an 8-hour shift in retail only to make the drive to St. Pete, FL straight after my shift in order to work overnights at HSN. HSN had also undergone a company reorganization which I narrowly survived and at that point I decided I needed to regroup and figure out what I really wanted. I had thought about marketing and social media over the years, but I wasn’t really ready to change careers until I exhausted my efforts in my current one. I figured – I’m on social media all of the time anyway, why don’t I get paid for it?! After a couple of years of being overlooked for promotions at HSN, I decided to make the switch to marketing. My only catch was I wanted to make the switch without actually having to go back to school and putting myself in more student loan debt. It was then that I started educating myself as much as possible. I took classes on Coursera in Marketing, in which I earned certifications and I took Google’s free ‘Intro to Marketing’ course. I then found a local organization called Global Hope Network International and started volunteering as their twitter manager in order to gain experience in content creation and began to build my portfolio. I was still doing all of this in addition to working in retail and at HSN. I worked with Global Hope Network International for a little over a year until I got my first job in Digital Marketing for a local Orlando small business called Your Brand Voice. I prepared extensively for the interview and had my portfolio and resume in hand and was hired on the spot. It was here where I learned how to use WordPress, how to create a “voice” for each social platform and ultimately how to be a digital marketer.

A few years ago during all of this transitioning and educating myself, I had created a “travel blog” on the blogger.com website and would write about travels and experiences I had along the way. My problem? I wasn’t consistent. I would post to the Instagram account once every six months if I was lucky and the website would go months without an article. Unfortunately as a result of COVID, I was furloughed and ultimately let go a few months later from Your Brand Voice. Being furloughed allowed me to put myself to the test and challenge myself. I had been thinking about a website rebrand earlier in the year and getting serious about my blog, but I didn’t actually have the time to do it. I let myself have one day to be sad about the unfortunate situation with my job, and then I got to work. I purchased the domains for the rebrand and worked on my website day in and day out for over a month. Some nights I would be working on it and tweaking it until 3/4 am. When I rebranded to a Florida Lifestyle and Affordable Fashion Blog, my account initially had 1,200 followers. Today, I’m close to 4,000. Since April, I have worked partnered with multiple brands and have even had paid partnerships. I have two huge collaborations that are up and coming that are my biggest ones yet. Having my blog has allowed me to make new friends who are also bloggers and it also leads me to reconnect with one of my childhood friends. Once COVID and my schedule subside, my dream is to highlight more local businesses and things to do in Orlando and be a resource for locals. I definitely have my days where it can be tough, but I try and also make sure that if I am having a tough day, I’m honest about it with my followers. For me, it’s not about being a “blogger” or cute outfits, but it’s also about being real. I now work in marketing for a local Digital Animation and Visual Effects school (or The DAVE School) full time and at night I come home and I work on my blog, My Comfort Ears and another client creating content.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Working on social media platforms where you don’t actually have control of how the algorithm reacts can definitely be tough! This year especially with the change in Instagram’s algorithm it has been hard on creators in terms of reach and growth. I’ve had posts perform well and I’ve had posts totally flop and it definitely gets frustrating, especially if it’s a paid post that flops. Instagram to this day is a love-hate relationship for me. I have actually grown to like Tik Tok more because it is much easier to grow on that platform. Prior to working in marketing, it was tough. I kept getting turned down for jobs or promotions I knew I was qualified for and it definitely didn’t feel good. I knew I was capable of big things, but no one saw what I knew to be the case. Prior to making the switch to marketing, I was living paycheck to paycheck. My car kept breaking down and I had no money to fix it. My parents had to step in in order to help me fix it so I could make it to work. Now, I’m in a career where people notice what I’m capable of and I’m in a much better position financially than I was before. I was able to get rid of that car and even upgraded!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I work at The DAVE School as a Marketing Producer and Social Media Specialist. For my job, I handle all aspects of organic marketing for the school, email marketing, blog creation and website management. I create content for our social media channels, even adding in some Star Wars and relatable humor to break up the content about day to day happenings at our school. Since starting my job in late September, I have been instrumental in providing all written and visual content for their new website which is now live at dave.nuc.edu I also created a landing page for our Virtual Open Houses and it has been a success, resulting in multiple enrollments. For the first time in two years, we will be hitting their enrollment number goals. Our reach, engagements and followers are also growing as well. My blog was actually a big selling point to my now boss at The DAVE School. She saw how instead of letting furlough and being laid off get me down, I hustled and I hustled HARD. What sets me apart from others is my determination to succeed and grow and constantly educate myself in Marketing. Every day there’s something new to be learned and there’s something that can be achieved.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
I never gave up. There were plenty of times I was down on myself and thought that maybe I wasn’t meant to be doing something that I loved. After every denial, it made me want to work harder to prove that, Yes I AM capable and yes, I AM worth it. People have taken notice of my blog and now I have people I went to high school with sending me screenshots if they see my content pop up or they’ll dm me asking for guidance because they want to do the same thing. That hustle has allowed me the opportunity to become the marketing manager of My Comfort Ears and have my other client as well!

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