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Following my layoff, I used $50 to launch a social media marketing company These days, my monthly income exceeds $70,000

  • Manu Muraro started offering freelance marketing services when she was laid off in 2016.
  • She turned those services into Your Social Team, which offers social-media templates and coaching.
  • Here's her advice for launching a business with low startup costs and growing sustainably.

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Manu Muraro was 4 when she spotted her first billboard. She credits the larger-than-life advertisement with influencing her decision to eventually pursue a career in creative advertising.

Muraro started her career as a producer and creative manager at Cartoon Network before landing a job as a marketing director at a local startup. When she was laid off in 2016, Muraro tapped her experience to launch Your Social Team, a company that sells social-media templates and coaches social-media managers.

She initially invested $50 in a coworking space to work. Since then, she's grown her company to more than $70,000 in average monthly revenue, documents seen by Insider showed.

Insider spoke with Muraro about her experience turning a layoff into a new opportunity, scaling sustainably, and starting a business with little money.

This is an as-told-to story based on an interview with Muraro that has been edited for length and clarity.

Start as a freelancer to test the waters

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Manu Muraro

Muraro started with freelance social-media agency services.
courtesy of Muraro

Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. In fact, I was never entrepreneurial. I always thought that sales and finance were so far on the other side of the spectrum from creative that I wouldn't be able to do them well. So instead of intentionally launching a business, I started freelancing after being laid off to buy myself some time before getting a new job.

I'd advise anyone interested in freelancing or entrepreneurship to test the waters before diving in. There are a lot of benefits of a corporate career — like healthcare insurance and a regular paycheck — that you want to make sure you can cover when you become a founder.

Throughout my interview process, I was increasingly disappointed with the roles I was applying for and the teams I would potentially work with. Those experiences made freelancing more attractive to me, and I was encouraged by clients' valuing my work.

Sustainably finance the business

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Manu Muraro

Muraro hires part-time contractors to help with business tasks.
courtesy of Muraro

My plan was never to have a large team working for me; I didn't enjoy managerial tasks, and I wanted to scale affordably. But I did hire a bookkeeper early on to keep track of my finances.

For the first eight months, I didn't have a professional logo or a website. I marketed by telling everyone I knew about the freelance marketing and coaching business I was building, leveraging my professional network to generate clients, and posting on Instagram about my expertise in marketing to build a community.

When I decided to host in-person events, I found it most affordable to rent out the extra meeting rooms in my coworking space, which I was already paying for. I partnered with and paid local influencers to speak at the events to bring in more audience members and followers.

Today, I still keep it to a minimum. I have six part-time contractors, including a content director, a PR specialist, and a copywriter for our newsletters. I've also stayed intentional about which projects I invest more time into.

Balance what you like with what your clients need

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I started as a boutique social-media agency, but I quickly realized that wasn't what I wanted to create in the long term. I was tired of tweaking captions and recording analytics on spreadsheets. So I decided to lean into the template and coaching branches of the business.

The templates — which I work with a graphic designer to create — are sold as one-off products or in subscription packages to social-media managers who reuse them for their own businesses. The subscription service, called Your Template Club, combined with the one-off purchases made up nearly 70% of my revenue last year.

Manu Muraro

Muraro has transitioned her business to focus on what she enjoys, like speaking engagements and coaching.
courtesy of Muraro

I also earn money through my coaching membership, called The Smarter Social Club; online courses; speaking engagements; brand partnerships; and other streams.

One of the best business decisions I've made was investing in a training program before I launched my course, because that helped ensure I was creating something that others truly needed.

It's been important to me to launch products my audience will actually use. I'm in this career to help make other social-media managers more successful at their jobs because I know how difficult those roles can be. Anything I can do to help them while building my own brand is what I'm focusing on as a founder.


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