Erin Winters has built her own digital marketing and video production company, Erin On Demand, and amassed over 42,000 subscribers on YouTube. But she didn’t always intend to be an entrepreneur. While studying broadcast journalism at Howard University, Winters came home to metro Detroit each summer to intern at Fox 2 News with the hopes of becoming a reporter.
When her career interests changed, Winters auditioned and landed a position as a spokesperson for Michigan First Credit Union. There, she discovered a whole other side of storytelling in the digital space. Winters later worked for National Geographic as a digital correspondent, a job which showed her that she had a special gift for storytelling, she says.
Winters officially launched Erin On Demand in June 2018. Since then, she’s worked with businesses like the Rhonda Walker Foundation and TVOne. Along with social media strategizing and video production, Winters also offers an online “eBrand Club” for entrepreneurs and content creators looking to build their own marketing agency. Through the club, she hosts live lessons, masterclasses and more.
On YouTube, Winters creates videos about everything from social media marketing to the basics of entrepreneurship. Winters also provides a real glimpse into her journey through her “A Day In The Life” series, which has helped establish a community amongst her viewers, she says. For Winters, consistency and authenticity have helped her to grow her channel.
Winter’s says, “When I started, I thought I was just going to be pretty much making social media commercials for small businesses in the metro Detroit area. Now, I have a membership club that is growing very rapidly, and there are people from all over the world inside of it. I’m doing video production for big corporate companies that I had no idea I would be doing.”
What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to create a digital presence for the first time?
First, you just have to start. And I find that that’s the thing that most people are afraid to do. Growing digital platforms is about being on there and actually pushing out content. Once you get starting and posting and being consistent down, then move into refining: How do I get people to actually engage? How can I boost engagement? Is it my images? Is it the way that I start my videos?That way, you have something to actually base off of and you can see what you’re actually doing and if it’s working or not working. It’s really hard to improve when you have no data.
Where do you find your inspiration and motivation?
I find my motivation and inspiration from family – from the people that I surround myself with. I’m surrounded by very positive, encouraging people. I’m a woman of faith, so I have a lot of faith in what I do and who I am. And then I work on myself a lot. So, I read. I watch motivational videos. I try to pour into myself. Working on yourself is just so, so important because if I’m not growing, then my business is not growing.
What advice do you have for someone who’s still working a 9-to-5 and considering or trying to launch their own business?
I say launch it. A 9-to-5 shouldn’t stop you, and I think a lot of people feel like they kind of have to choose. You can do it all at the same time. If you don’t feel like you’re getting paid what you’re worth at your job, pay yourself. I say don’t quit your job. Don’t quit it yet, because entrepreneurship is a lot of work and I cannot stress that enough. Get proof that what you’re actually thinking about starting or launching is going to work:Is there a demand for it? Who am I targeting? What problem am I solving? What story am I telling? Those kinds of questions are really important to ask yourself before you just quit because when you do that, you are in for a whole different type of life.
Is there a particular accomplishment or project that you’re most proud of?
I would say that launching the membership club was probably one of my most proud moments because it was so unexpected, and it has been very successful. I do get excited about literally everything. Those small wins and those small excitements are really what keep you going, because sometimes the big wins don’t come that frequently. You just have to take small joys and count them for what they are as well.
This interview has been edited and condensed.