Sylvia Huang had what you could call a comfortable life; a stable bank job, a financially independent lifestyle and having travelled the world. At the same time, social media was just beginning to develop at an exponential rate, its ways were not fully grasped and people weren’t knowledgeable in utilising it especially for small businesses that didn’t have enough resources.
Witnessing first hand the difficulties of handling social media, Sylvia felt this was the perfect chance to do something with a purpose and ultimately improve the lives of others. She abandoned her comfortable lifestyle and embarked on a journey as a social media coach to teach people how to be social media savvy. Now Sylvia is one of the best social media coaches in Australia, coaching clients all around the world. ECX had a great conversation with the lovely Sylvia about her fascinating journey and her passion for helping people in the ever-changing social media landscape.
What is it like being a social media coach?
One word. Unpredictable. You can come up with a strong strategy, a great plan but in the social media realm, anything can happen. When I work with multiple businesses around the world, I am always aware of what’s going on and I have to stay on top of everything. I have to be ready for everything and be flexible to many changes. As a coach it’s more about education, providing insight and developing their knowledge but most importantly it’s about developing their practical instincts.
How did you make your transition to becoming a social media coach?
While I was working at Deutsche Bank, I was actually looking for a creative outlet. Social media was really beginning to develop back then so was I looking to connect with other people through social media.
I was also working as an influencer and worked with both startups and major companies. The big thing I noticed is that startups really struggle social media wise. They don’t have agencies or other marketing firms to help them, they don’t have optimisations, strategies or the financial budgets to really make an impact in social media.
It was at a time when I was reaching a point in my life, where it was nice to have a job in a bank, a stable life, yet ultimately, my life didn’t have enough meaning and a purpose.
It must have been quite a change?
Yes! It was definitely tough in the beginning. When I quit my job, I was actually completely lost. I needed space to figure it out and even took a year off. I travelled around the world, even did a course in psychology. In truth, my mind was really like “What am I going to do?”.
When you’re lost, you try to realise and envision your path, to find it no matter what it takes and you can get lost through the process. For me, I know I wanted to do social media so I left my job, yet immediately afterwards, I felt uncomfortable and started to confuse myself. Ultimately my path led back to social media after a year when I just came to a self realisation that this is my path and I’ll stick to it.
Even when I first started social media coaching, I was told that you should focus on the big clients and then charge them a lot since it makes your life easier. But there is no real purpose in doing something like that. It goes back to my whole reason for doing this, which is helping people who don’t have the necessary resources to make a difference in social media.
Highlights in your journey?
As a social media coach, there’s been quite a few highlights in my journey. Successfully growing my first account, working with major clients and achieving recognition in the industry. But to me, simple highlights such as waking up every day, to see concrete results in social media that can help improve my client’s lives, their businesses and the smiles on their faces, that’s enough for me.
With the highlights come challenges, what are the challenges you’ve faced?
I think the two big parts are isolation, especially, when there is no co-founder and I had to drive the business myself. On a day to day basis, there’s a feeling of the need to solve every business problems by myself and especially at the beginning it was quite lonely. When difficulty arises and solutions aren’t working for clients, those times really require a strong support network to back you up.
Another part is that I work with a lot of clients around the world and with that comes so many differences in culture, mentality and the way of doing business. I remember one intensive day where I barely got any sleep because for the whole night, I was waking up every hour just dealing with different clients across the time zone.
In wrapping up? What’s next for Sylvia?
I am actually organising a charity for my non-for profit organisation that’s coming up. It’s called Do What You Can, helping communities who are looking for employment, training, skills by providing workshops to the community which is up in the running.
In the short term regarding Social Potatoes, I’m moving towards a direction where I don’t want to just help people with their business results, but more of their personal effectiveness and mentality. It’s sort of like a personal coach where I want to help them on their journey by getting them through their mental blocks. It’s definitely something new and exciting I want to try out.
In the long term, I am thinking about expanding Social Potatoes to other parts of Asia as well. In the future, it could develop into a branch for an online school, dedicated to teaching students about social media.
There’s a lot of exciting things to come!
Be sure to stay tuned to ECX for more tips and advice regarding social media from Sylvia!
Journo for ECX Magazine