Charli K. Matthews is the Founder and President of Empowering Brands, a digital media company with a mission to connect, inform, and educate the Pump System community through its leading online information and connection hubs. With a passion for #EmpoweringConnections, Charli is a well-recognized, highly respected, and very active participant at many key industry events and trade associations; spending her time bringing social media into the forefront for many of the primary process industry equipment manufacturers, engineers, and safety/reliability engineers.
In her spare time, Charli continues her advocacy for women engineers in her industry through speaking engagements and active participation of the many groups set up to support this growing community. Charli also enjoys educating her peers on sales and social media tips, but more than anything she loves spending time with her three very active children!
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Social media and my clients. I started using social media for business three years before I started my business. It was so amazing to be able to build an online network in minutes and continue to grow relationships by staying engaged. When I was faced to make a decision about the next steps of my career, my client had faith enough in my social networking skills that he jumped at the opportunity to support my vision.
Tell us about your business.
Empowering Brands is a digital media company that has created several platforms to connect a diverse group of industry professionals through a community of websites, eNewsletters, and social media channels. This online community enables manufacturers and service providers to share valuable content of all types to the industry while encouraging professionals to engage and exchange ideas, education and more.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I was awarded the FSA Award of Merit for my work with the Fluid Sealing Association while serving as their Marketing Committee Chair.
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I googled how to start a business. Used online legal services and paid for the paperwork. Then I self-funded the launch of my website and spend many hours learning WordPress, QuickBooks, and marketing for dummies!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Connecting with my audience through social media, events, and visiting them. I have found that you really learn how the equipment works if you see it in action and then it is easier to tell a story about the experience.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I think the biggest challenge is understanding our audience’s needs – we have a very diverse audience. Also, there is a larger engineering side to our business that tend to be more observers than posters. This makes it difficult to measure if they are happy with the level of content we provide.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We have developed a survey approach and really asking the questions in a more private setting so it is less risky. Creating trust can sometimes be as easy as spending time with people.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Oh, I have cheerleaders. It is a must to surround yourself with positivity. Every negative comment takes about three positives to make up for it! I am a believer that words are powerful, so we are a company based on optimism.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I think about this as how are we better, faster, and stronger compared to the competition.
- Better – We connect people by understanding people’s needs and connecting them to other people in the industry that could help them. This is like second nature and we aren’t doing it for the money.
- Faster – We are a digital media platform and can publish an article much faster than any traditional publication that may be waiting on their print/publish date.
- Stronger – We have industry partners that are experts in their field. From associations, standards organizations, consultants, to industry events, we are stronger because of our relationships with these industry leading professionals who share content on our platforms.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Be still and know that I am God.” I read this on a picture framed in my aunts house. As a business owner, we are often moving to fast to think clearly. Take time to be still, rest, and know that there is a plan for your life!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
- Schedule time for yourself. Time to learn the skills that will make you more efficient.
- Follow leaders who have figured out the key to being a successful entrepreneur and listen to their guidance.
- Follow your gut and your passion!
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Google Drive, Sprout Social, and hashtags.
- Google Drive has helped me and my team get and stay organized and on task.
- Sprout Social allows me to automate the message I know I want to send out when I am on the road and it give me stats on how those message preformed.
- Hashtags have allowed me to find a community on the other side for any group. It has allowed me to get closer to understanding my audience.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Crafting a better marketing message of the collective group of brands we are promoting.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
We are going to build a newsletter connecting our equipment platforms to have more of a streamline approach to new content posted on a collection of websites.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @CharliKMatthews, @EmpoweringBrands, @EmpoweringPumps, @EmpoweringValves, @EmpoweringMotors, @EmpoweringCompressors
Twitter @CharliKMatthews, @EmpoweringBrand, @EmpoweringPumps, @Valves_EV, @Motors_EM, @Compressors_EC
Website www.charlikmatthews.com, www.empowering-brands.com
Hashtags #EmpoweringConnections #compressortalk #motortalk #valvetalk #pumptalk