Bethann Wagner | She Ran: Stories From Women Who Found Their Own Way
Welcome to She Ran, a series of short interviews with inspirational business owners and artists. I believe in the power of example. If She Ran with her dreams so can you.
Say hello to Bethann. She’s a fit, fierce, and fabulous mama of two, living in sunny Santa Monica.
Bethann and I share a similar career journey in that we worked our way into the San Francisco tech scene through hard work and great reputations, each eventually landing amazing jobs at Google. When Bethann left her cushy job at YouTube, I was happy for her… and also insanely jealous. In a way, she was one of the first to show me life on “the outside” was possible. — Rachel
What do you do, and how did you come to do it?
I write a blog called Bethanimalprint - it's about personal style, beauty and wellness/fitness. I started it in on a whim 2013 while I was working full-time at YouTube HQ as a strategist. My role at the time required me to talk to bloggers about transitioning to video production and growing their audiences on YouTube. Becoming a blogger was the ultimate research project and was really intended as just that. I thought about blogging for maybe 15 minutes before buying my domain and setting up coordinating social handles - it was never something I thought I would get into long-term.
What's your mission? Why do you do what you do?
As a blogger, it can look like my mission is to promote myself on the internet and try to get a lot of likes. Sometimes it feels that way too, but that's so far from reality. My mission with my blog is to share my story, products I find would be most useful to women who like me, are wearing many hats and any tips I've come across that might make life a little easier.
Who inspires you? Or, Where did you get the idea you could work for yourself?
When I was a Senior Strategist at YouTube, a big part of my job was to meet with successful YouTube creators in the fashion and beauty space and help them grow their channels. I did that for over 4 years and I saw many of them start with a few thousand subscribers and grow to millions of subscribers. I thought to myself, if I can help these women grow this much, surely I can grow a little bit too. I had already started a blog, which actually was born out of necessity so I could better understand the blogging landscape to best assist my creators and it was beginning to build a little traction. Honestly, I really didn't know much about blogging or growing an audience on any of the other social platforms. I spent two years really focusing on learning everything about blogging, Facebook and Instagram. I went to conferences and workshops on the weekends and spent my nights in online 'social media' groups asking questions or taking online courses that would help prepare me to build a business out of the tiny audience I had grown. 4 years after starting my blog, I left YouTube to be an influencer full time and I am still inspired by the creators and the people I worked with there.
What is the greatest part about building your own business that you want other women to know?
Okay, so as a mom, it is HEAVEN! I make my own schedule so I get to do all the things I want to do with them and just enjoy them being little. When my daughter was 11 weeks old, I went to work at Google and I was away from her for 9 hours a day for her first 5 years. That was necessary at the time, but now that I can work from home, I feel so freaking lucky because I get to be with the kids a lot more, but I still get to work. My progress of projects is really intermittent at times because the kids are my main priority, but the work always gets done. I can't express enough how wonderful it is to be able to be there for my children and I am so grateful to my husband for supporting me when I took this non-traditional and often unpredictable path.
What are some of the hidden challenges of working for yourself that no one talks about
Execution. Ideas are a dime a dozen, especially in my niche which is oversaturated and has no real barrier to entry. The most important thing is executing on ideas more creatively and with earlier launch dates than others in your niche so you don't get lost in the noise.
What's your favorite social media platform and why?
My favorite platform to consume content on is Pinterest because you can go there and type in exactly what you need and discover a variety of easily digestible and executable ideas. My favorite to produce content on is Instagram because posting there is not very time consuming and people that actually see the posts (I'm looking at you, algorithm) are typically engaged. I love having conversations with people there when it goes down in the DM. ;)