Hey, what’s up! I’m Eric.
I am super passionate about helping business owners unleash their creative powers to generate greater awareness, engagement, and leads from social media.
In addition to my podcast, I offer a freebie Instagram resource guide, an online course for beginners, and free social media strategy sessions.
I am also a proud husband and father to three teenage boys - Alvin, Simon, and Theodore (ALVIN!!!) - just kidding, those aren't their real names.
Oh, and I am a huge Back to the Future fan (Great Scott!) 1955 ->🔥🔥🔥🚘💥💥💥<->1985
💥Before The Creative Marketing Zone💥
Starting this business was years in the making!
I always knew that I’d be dancing to the beat of my own drums one day, but I also knew that patience, consistency, and hard work would be required to get to this point.
Sure, I made several irrational decisions in my twenties (who hasn’t?). However, I knew deep down that all the years spent in the trenches in corporate America would eventually pay off.
And when I talk about the trenches in business, I am referring to my years spent cold calling, knocking on doors, pounding the pavement, smiling and dialing, dialing for $$$ (not sure if these terms are still used), and just overall straight up hustling to pave my way.
Here I am dialing for dollars in 2011, No, means next! 👇
While I was pretty good at sales, I knew that I didn’t want to be cold calling the rest of my life. And I was eager to finally put my marketing degree to use when I started noticing a...
Shift in the buying process
Around 2010 is when I began to notice a shift in consumer behavior in the sales arena.
Consumers were educating themselves more and more before I spoke to them. By the time I was speaking to prospects, they were pretty much ready to buy - made my job easy, right?
I spent less time hunting. More of my time was spent nurturing and educating the prospect through a series of calls and marketing emails.
It was also around this time in which I picked up a passion for writing.
My wife noticed I was spending time after work in the evenings and on weekends reading and writing about self-help topics I was interested in.
So she did what any awesome wife would do – she set me up with a blog!
I began writing in this blog religiously, and I soon discovered a newer social media platform – Twitter.
I used Twitter to connect with like-minded folks and to distribute my articles to drive traffic back to my blog.
I was also collecting email addresses from people who were interested in what I had to say and I sent emails out for each new article published.
I was having fun, even though fun wasn’t paying the bills.
A Few More Setbacks and Life Learning Lessons
In late 2011, I made one last major irrational decision, which was to leave my full-time corporate job (with benefits) to venture off on my own.
I did not like the job I was doing (cold calling still), and I knew deep down I was destined for greatness – I just did not know how to get there.
I was also struggling to make quota in this job, so I quit!
Big Mistake, or So I Thought At the Time
Shortly after I quit, I broke my left wrist and ankle in a pickup basketball game.
I was sidelined in a wheelchair for a few months with no money coming in the door. I burned through my savings trying to pay the bills and physical therapy out of pocket (my insurance ran out).
I fell behind on the mortgage payments and I eventually went through a foreclosure on the house. I should probably also mention that I went through a bankruptcy a few years before this as well.
I truly thought we were going to be homeless, or living out of our minivan!
It was also around this time in which my alcohol consumption reached new heights.
For years I drank alcohol just about every night, but now I was drinking a lot more to cope with stress, anxiety, or to just drink.
I was the guy who didn't like to go out. I just enjoyed drinking to myself daily, denying being an alcoholic, and made up excuses to not go out.
Unfortunately, the drinking did take its toll on me as I will explain later.
My career in marketing Starts to take off
In 2012, I started applying for jobs in social media in the D.C. area.
I landed a job with an agency that specialized in content marketing for large B2B and B2G (business-to-government) technology firms.
When I landed this job, I felt so excited as I could start to pay the bills and get back on my feet financially again.
We weren't going to be homeless after all, and I was able to qualify for an apartment right before the foreclosure on our home took place.
However, I do remember asking myself, “what have I done?” when I landed this new job, It was like an impostor syndrome type of feeling, like I was “faking it to make it.”
Nonetheless, I took on the job knowing I was a quick learner, and I did catch on quick. This was my first experience working in an agency, and I learned a lot.
Eventually, I did leave this job as I knew that I’d be putting in a lot more hours for slightly more pay if I decided to stay.
I went to work for a contract cleaning company in the D.C. area that specialized in cleaning high-security facilities. I handled their marketing, and I got the chance to help out in sales to win large contracts.
While I did enjoy my time working as an employee at the family-owned and professionally managed contract cleaning company, I knew eventually I’d be on my own. And that time for me began taking place in 2015.
The Side Hustling Begins
In 2015, my old boss at the agency I worked at reached out to me. He let me know that he was going off on his own to start his consulting practice, and he could use my help when the time came for him to expand.
He ended up landing a large client, and I did some subcontracting/freelancing work for him for extra cash each month.
Then I landed another subcontracting/freelancing gig - cha-ching!
Soon after, I got my first two clients on my own to handle their social media promotion and advertising.
Then next thing I knew, I had a side hustle that was making more money than my full-time job!
I could no longer sustain the full-time job as I was burning the midnight oil every night of the week and working all weekends.
So, I did what any young aspiring business owner would do.
I Took on My Employer As a Client - say what???
I put notice in with my current employer – the contract cleaning company – and I presented an offer they could not refuse (well, I guess they technically could have). That offer was to be a client (or as we like to say, partner) under my new marketing firm.
Because of the exceptional work I had done for them over the last few years, and the relationship and trust we had for each other, they felt more than compelled to sign on - how freaking awesome is that?
Hard Lessons Learned My First Year in Business
I joke about this now, but when I first started out, I was so excited about running and growing this business until I quickly learned how unscalable a service based business is.
If I wanted to grow this machine, then I would have to start taking on larger contracts, and then I'd have to start hiring a staff and have tons of overhead.
That wasn't the direction I wanted to grow.
I also felt uneasy being the lone wolf with just a couple of contractors trying to do everything myself. Going from having one boss when working for an employer, to feeling like I now had ten different bosses as clients was nerve wracking.
Plus, there was all the other behind the scenes work that needed to be done to run the business - e.g., accounting and bookkeeping, invoicing and monthly reports, client and prospect meetings, proposals and follow ups, networking events, and of course, the actual client work.
Money was coming in the door, but most of the money was also going right back out for business and every day living expenses.
There had to be a way for me to grow this business without creating a large agency with massive overhead.
That's when I discovered the realm of online courses and digital products.
The Shift to Start Offering Digital Products
I was listening to an Amy Porterfield podcast one day while working out (if you don't know who Amy Porterfield is, then you need to check her out), and she pretty much summed up exactly how I felt when I first started my consulting business.
She was in the same exact boat her first two years in business as I was, and then she discovered the online education realm, which is a multi-billion dollar market.
After listening to her show, I immediately began mapping out my vision of The Creative Marketing Zone and my mission.
The vision, which is in front of me at all times, is to put on an annual marketing event in which I attract tech companies and creative marketers to attend and learn new and exciting stuff. And the goal of the event is to not only share exciting new information, but to also create strong synergies among creatives and techies.
The way I see, just like in any other industry, automation will continue to play a big part in marketing. However, creatives will still have a place as we will need to drum up those creative campaigns that influence consumer behavior.
And as creative marketers, we will need to learn how to best use the latest and greatest technologies to ensure our campaigns are a hit. The annual event will be a force in helping to ensure creatives and tech companies can continue working well together.
All the steps leading up to this event as you can imagine are important. This is why I started first with my weekly podcast.
The Podcast Journey Begins
My podcast is a platform for me to share excellent tips for business owners and fellow marketers seeking to grow their business. It is also a great networking opportunity for me to build relationships with folks who are doing amazing things in their space.
Once I got the podcast running smoothly, the next project for me to tackle was working on my first online course.
I studied from the greats - Amy Porterfield and Russell Brunson (founder of Click Funnels) - to begin putting together my first online course.
It ended up being a six (6) week online course in which I took students on a transformational journey with their business (soup-to-nuts) to generate greater awareness and engagement with their target audience, and leads for their business through social media.
The platforms specifically covered in the course are Instagram, Facebook, MailChimp email marketing, and lead generation ads.
And the cool part is that I actually took on a real business over the six weeks to showcase their results for the students.
There are tons of other cool features, like our private Facebook group and so much more, but the coolest part for me was being able to pre-sell this course without actually putting the course together!
I actually talked about this experience in one of my podcast episodes.
Now the course is an evergreen product. Meaning, students can enroll at any point and everything is unlocked for them in a drip sequence. Students also have permanent access to all course materials on demand, even after the six weeks are up.
Because of the success of the online course, I started identifying what else I could be doing (product wise) to rake in additional revenue and stay scalable toward achieving my vision.
And that is when I launched my social media roadmap in which I put together a detailed step-by-step process (or guide) business owners can use on social media to achieve their desired results.
The Transformation Begins & The Alcohol Consumption ends
During this time while working on the growth of my business, I stopped drinking alcohol.
I's kind of hard for me to explain, but I was in such a flow like state creating these awesome products and having fun with my business that the desire for alcohol started to go away.
Unfortunately, the damage to my family was irreversible at this point as our two oldest boys now live with their dad in Texas full-time. Though the drinking wasn't the main issue on why they left, it certainly played a big part.
Sometimes looking back on everything, I do wish I could have done things differently by not drinking as much, or not drinking at all.
But then there are times in which I realize that the past is the past. I can do my best today to ensure I have a better and brighter future.
Each day is difficult overcoming an addiction to alcohol, and I have total sympathy for those who struggle.
So, I say all of this to not only share my personal story up until this point but to also point out that success (however you define it), does not happen overnight! And greatness does not happen from a bottle that is toxic.
The years of working in corporate jobs, whether I liked or hated them, taught me so many valuable lessons. And so did my personal struggles along the way.
💥What I’m All About💥
My business is all about helping beginners learn the ropes of social media marketing and advertising for their business - specifically when it comes to Instagram and Facebook.
I truly believe that we all have creative powers within us that are just waiting to be unleashed.
And I am committed to helping business owners (who feel like they are beginners) tap into their creative juices to grow their business using social media as the tool to make this happen.
Here's how you can get started with me 👇
"The Creative Marketing Zone delivers! Eric is great to work with. He gets to know your brand, and develops content that is relevant, authentic and effective. In a few months he has more than doubled our following and engagement on social media.” - Johnny Seikaly, Founder and Chef at Mezze Box DC
If you’re looking to skyrocket your business through social media, you need to get in The Creative Marketing Zone. Eric will develop a customized plan just for you that will increase your exposure and your engagement with your followers. If you’re busy running your business and don’t have the time (or inclination) to add social media guru to your resume, The Creative Marketing Zone is your solution! - Lisa Tucker, Growth Coordinator at Century 21 Redwood Realty
I had the pleasure of working with Eric on The Creative Marketing Zone Podcast. One of his many endearing qualities is his desire to always provide value to his clients, colleagues, and peers. His podcast content provides listeners with rich strategies and helpful tips. Many might charge for this information, but Eric maintains a mindset of giving. He also has an excellent system for follow-thru and delivery. He's a true pro that I would recommend to anyone! - Cole Hernandez, CEO at Pink Graffiti