This Entrepreneur Built Her Business From Her Daughter’s Hospital Room

Kayla Ybanez January 28, 2020

I am somebody who has always loved social media. There is nothing like posting a photo wearing your best outfit to get likes and comments from your friends telling you how amazing you look.

I always admired others who were making money from something as simple as showing up on social media and being themselves. My background in social media includes promoting and planning events as far back as the Myspace days for musicians performing at music festivals. This was long before entrepreneurs were using it for business.

When my daughter was diagnosed with a mystery illness in January 2018, we were faced with 436 days straight in the isolation unit of the hospital, and she needed a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

Not being able to work to be by her side, I set out to learn everything I could about utilizing Instagram for business. I read business books, listened to podcasts, and Googled every related article I could find.

I didn’t know what exactly I was going to do, but what I did know is I had time.

I knew this platform was more than just a way to share artsy photos. Instagram is a platform where you can connect to potential customers on a more intimate level and build relationships with them.

One thing I leveraged was live video via Instagram Stories. People got to know me as a person because I was so open about what my family was going through. People felt like they knew me and therefore trusted me.

After a while of posting and sharing our journey in the hospital, people started to ask me how I was getting so much attention, new followers, and quality engagement. They were especially impressed at all I was able to do during an intense hospital stay.

People started to approach me, asking me to help them with their businesses because they were lacking exposure on Instagram. I knew the ins and outs of how to do it, and people were ready to pay for the information I had so that they didn’t have to waste time trying to do it all on their own.

Within a few weeks, my calendar was booked out months at a time for one-on-one consultations where I showed business owners exactly what to post, when, and which adjustments to make to their photos.

My clients began seeing results and telling other people about me. That is how I continued to grow my list of clients. I managed this with my daughter’s care by scheduling client calls during her naps and therapy appointments, and while she was in surgeries. As demand increased I also raised my prices. When I did that I made sure I was attracting clients who were likely to do the work, see the amazing results, and tell more people about me.

Leveraging referrals is one of the ways my business grew as fast as I did. I let others do the marketing for me, which saved me time and money. I also make sure to ask everyone for testimonials so that I can share those on Instagram regularly.

Some might ask, “How could you focus while your baby was so sick?” For me, this was therapeutic. Social media has always been something I loved being a part of. I also knew I was bringing in a regular income, which we needed to pay the growing hospital bills. It gave me purpose during a time where I had little control.

My daughter was released from the hospital four months after her transplant, and because of the regular work I was continuing to attract, I didn’t have to go back to working for somebody else — I could be her caretaker, all while helping other business owners build their revenue from Instagram.

Working from home, the best way to manage my growing business is to schedule family time first. I always make sure all of my family’s appointments, commitments, and time to just have fun is in my calendar before I schedule any clients. I also always keep my weekends and doctor-appointment days free so I can be a present mom when I need to be.

In 2020 I am utilizing my reach on social media to not only promote my own products but also bring awareness to signing up for the national bone marrow registry.

Leadership / Social Entrepreneurship
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