Building a relationship-based business | Amanda Baida

Success looks different to everyone. For business owner Amanda Baida, success isn’t building a social media empire – it’s the opportunity to enjoy her family and the lifestyle she’s helped build for them. 

Baida, a 2011 UCCS graduate in marketing, is the owner of InnerSocial Marketing, which she opened in 2012. In this success story, she describes how her relationship-based business puts people over profit and has helped her succeed for almost a decade. And she also shares some advice about an old adage that might surprise you.

While working on my marketing degree at UCCS, I did an internship for a woman who did social media locally. It was almost unheard of at that point in Colorado Springs (2010), but she showed me that social media had a lot of opportunity. While employed at the Small Business Development Center, which used to be housed on the UCCS campus, I started managing the Facebook page for the SBDC and then doing some consulting with business owners who came in to learn how to use Facebook for their business. After college, I started working at a local ad agency that specialized in traditional advertising. They actually had me head their social media department right out of college and I worked with their clients on how to use social media to connect with customers. At that time, there was a lot of doubt, hurdles and frustrations in ‘selling’ social media. I eventually built enough clients on the side to leave the agency and fulfill my dream of being my own boss. I started InnerSocial Marketing 10 years ago in 2012 and haven’t looked back since!

My clients. I’ve built my business based on relationships and treating clients well. Many of my clients I’ve had over eight years, not necessarily because I’m the best person on the planet at social media marketing but because I am kind, honest, communicate and make each client feel like they’re my top priority. Some people run businesses by being a ‘shark’ and are focused solely on profits. That has never been my priority and I believe my clients feel a sense of comfort knowing I care more about seeing their business succeed and our relationship than the check they’re sending.

In my career, my company hit 10 years in business this year! When I started, I faced a lot of people, even family, who didn’t understand what I did, who doubted a career in social media, and encouraged me to do something different with my life. I had a lot of people tell me that social media is a ‘fad’ and wouldn’t be around in 5+ years. It makes me proud that I didn’t listen to them and continued on a path I believed in. I didn’t let them kill my entrepreneurial spirit and am proud to hit this 10 year milestone of a successful business. In my personal life, the husband and daughter I am so lucky to have. In high school and college, you never truly know how your life will turn out but you hope and dream of great things ahead. I don’t think I could have even dreamt of the wonderful and supportive husband I married, and the beautiful, smart daughter I am so lucky to call mine. That’s a type of pride that work success can never match.

Unfortunately, not every person you do business with is honest or cares about your wellbeing. I’ve had a handful of clients that refused to pay me after the work was done and then ‘disappeared’ off the face of the planet when I tried to claim what I was owed. It’s in these moments I felt taken advantage of and very used. It’s in these moments that I was reminded that not all people have good intentions. It hurt but it pushed me to rework my contracts to better protect myself, to vet new clients better prior to working together, and finally to trust my gut.

I really enjoyed my professors who seemed to have real-world experience. Many were professionals in their field and not just career professors, which allowed them to help us better prepare for the real business world. My student employment at the Small Business Development Center absolutely built me up to be a small business owner of my own, especially with the contacts I made during that time. I’m very thankful for my time at UCCS, which I felt gave me a well-rounded education.

I’m at a crossroads now where I’m growing my family and have put family as a priority. I’ve always been very career-focused but I think that will begin to slow down as I want to put my family first. For me, I’m comfortable with not having a huge aspiration to build a multi-million-dollar agency. I’ve created a nice lifestyle for myself and my family and in the coming years I want to enjoy what I’ve built without working 60 hours a week. I believe I will always be in marketing at some capacity because that’s how my mind works but it may not be at the full-steam ahead level I’ve been at the past 10 years.

I’ve always struggled with the saying, ‘find a way to turn your passions into a career and you’ll never work a day in your life’. That sounds great but it causes a lot of people to turn their hobbies into work… and then your hobbies (outlets) are no longer your hobbies, they’re work. I started a side company a few years ago that did event planning because I absolutely loved the planning and designing of people’s celebrations. I even went to event planning school. I was so excited about it and the business did really well. The business started to grow and grow. Eventually it became work and I dreaded it. It was so magical when I started and by the time I decided to call it quits, I felt a huge sense of relief when I closed up shop. Now I enjoy event planning again for gatherings for friends and family. I don’t think this means you can’t love your job. I just believe it’s misleading to guide people down a path of turning their passions into a career. I never loved social media but I love the clients I work with, developing a strategy, and trying to find a way to make unique content. I found a career that sparked new passions rather than turning my favorite things to do into a job.

This is your time to explore your interests and make new connections. Get involved in clubs, go to networking events, get out in the community. It’s these connections you make that could set you up for the rest of your life. You never know where life will truly take you but while you’re in college, it’s your chance to explore new opportunities you haven’t considered. It’s the prime time of your life to be an optimist.

I absolutely love hiking and most outdoor activities. I grew up in Colorado and while I don’t have the same energy level I used to, I enjoy escaping my computer and iPhone, and hitting a trail, fishing on a lake, paddle-boarding, snowshoeing, you name it. I also love to travel. I’ve had some great opportunities to see the world and while COVID and a kid has slowed that down a bit, I think I’ll always have the travel bug. Other than that, I’m playing with my daughter, hanging at the pool or at the gym.

I have summited 33 Colorado fourteeners. I’d like to do them all someday. Right now, I’m working on hitting 40 by the age of 40.