Updated: Jan 4, 2022
While social media can be a boon, many business owners just don’t want anything to do with it. Entrepreneurs often leave community building to other experts, who leverage social media and relationships to create communities. In this episode, Hayley Foster sits down and talks to entrepreneur, social media expert and podcaster Britney Crosson. Britney discusses creating communities, having fun with your extra income stream, and having the right people on your team. Tune in and learn more from Britney!
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Building Community: Growing Your Online Community With Britney Crosson
I'm here with the amazing, wine-sipping, social media-slaying, podcast-recording, and treadmill-dancing, Britney Crosson. I'm so excited to sit with you. This is going to be fun.
Thank you, Hayley. That was a hell of an intro. Thank you for having me.
It is my pleasure. We were saying that we should have done this at 5:00 so we can talk about what we were sipping on. I said that it's a weekday and I'm trying to cut back before the bikini season here in New York. I've got the wine belly. I don't know if that's a thing. Maybe it's just menopause but there is something going on. I'm going to blame it on the wine. It also helps me to think that I've got to cut back on one of the vices in my life. I'm going to cut back on that one because I cannot get rid of the coffee. Britney, we met at Clubhouse, which is where I meet most of my friends.
What are friends in real life? I don't even know.
My husband walked in on me in the bathroom in a Clubhouse room. He was like, “What are you doing?” I'm like, “I'm hanging out with my friends. What do you mean?” He's like, “You think that you are hanging out with your friends.” I'm like, “I am hanging out with my friends. This is what it looks like in 2021.”
Clubhouse is an interesting animal but the one great thing I can say about it is meeting such cool people.
I was in Monica and Felicia's room. My people follow all the same people. We gravitate towards each other. There's something about the love on Clubhouse, which feels very authentic. I show up and I want to be around them. It is super fun. I have a couple of questions for you but let's do a quick intro of who you are and what you do.
I am Britney Crosson. I am the Owner of Fun Love Media, where we focus on social media management and content creation, specifically for social media but also for email marketing for small businesses. It has been a few years and it just happened. I love social media because, for all my life, I have been a performer, dancer and actor. Whenever I’ve got in the groove of social media, I was like, “This is amazing.” You have this audience of people all over the world. I could post some things and there they are watching it. For somebody that likes the spotlight, it was very exciting.
If you're going to add an extra stream of income to your life, why not let it be something that's fun, that you enjoy, that you're going to buy anyway?
One thing led to another and business owner friends started asking me to help them with their social media. A lot of people don't like it and a lot of business owners don't want to mess with it. They are busy doing the business and trying to make money. They were like, “Please help me. I hate this. I don't know what to do.” One thing led to another and I was starting that work and formed a company out of it. That's my main gig, and then I started my podcast the Social Sunshine Podcast, which is also about the same thing. It's talking about social media marketing for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
I'm trying to have fun with it to remind people like, “Let's create some fun stuff or some interesting things.” It doesn't have to be dancing on a treadmill. It can be whatever it is. I'm encouraging people to use social media for good and help meet new people, grow their business, and all of that. That's what I spend my professional time doing. If anybody out there that's thinking about starting a community and it's tugging at your heart, I encourage you to. Right in the middle of the craziness of 2020, I launched this membership.
I didn't need it because I have my company and that work but for some reason, something in me was wanting to do this. I could have this big vision. I'm sure a lot of people can relate. I thought, “I know that I can help so many people at once this way instead of individual client work.” It has been one of the coolest things I have ever done. It's such a great group of people. It's so special. I love what I do. That's what I do professionally because acting in Texas doesn't pay the bills.
Where in Texas are you?
Are you near the Farmers Branch? Do you go pick up your wine? I'm always jealous when you can pick up your wine.
No. Texas is huge. That would be about a four-hour drive.
You are not driving to pick up your wine four hours away. Britney and I share a love of clean crafted wine, which is super fun to learn after you start stalking people on social media. I was like, “I'm a Scout & Cellar consultant, too.”
The wine thing is so fun. If you are going to add an extra stream of income to your life, why not let it be something that's fun, that you enjoy, and that you are going to buy anyway?
That was the initial driving factor for me. I will quickly give you my story into the wine, and then we can circle back around to you dancing on treadmills without the wine. She does not dance on treadmills while drinking wine. She did a public service announcement. I went to a wine tasting and it was June 2021. People were starting to resurface after the winter apocalypse of being stuck in your house. Someone put it out there and said, “It's better-for-you wine.” I was like, “I work out every day. I eat healthily. Wine is my vice. It must taste like crap.”
I went thinking in the back of my head, “I eat healthily and everything I eat is delicious. I don't know why I thought wine that was healthy would not taste good.” In my head, that's what I was thinking. I went to this tasting and my mask was off. I was around other humans. I was like, “The wine is amazing. Maybe it's because it's my first time to be out in months. Let me order six bottles, ship them home, and see what my husband thinks.” He's a bit of a wine snob. He got me to be a bigger wine snob than I already was.
I was like, “I'm going to ship some home.” Every time I opened up another bottle, I was like, “This is amazing and delicious.” I called up my consultant and I was like, “This will be the easiest person you ever sign up with. How do I do this?” I said to my husband, “I can sell this and it will pay for our wine habit.” Fifteen team members later, I'm going to Mexico and I won the trip. My team has sold over $100,000 worth of wine in less than a year. I'm loving it. It's infectious. I start talking about it everywhere and people are like, “What's this wine you are talking about?”
I was telling a story. Someone asked me about this other product that I had signed up for. They asked me how it was and I was like, “It's okay.” She was like, “You are not a very good sales rep for it.” I was like, “I can't sell you something I don't love.” I'm so honest. She came to me when I started it. She saw the wine stuff and was like, “How's the wine?” I'm like, “It's amazing.” She's like, “I know that you are not lying here because you hated the other stuff and you love this stuff.” She became a client. That's how I’ve got into it but I would love to hear your story.
It has been a while since we first joined. It was the late fall of 2019. It's a no-brainer for us. We also are not difficult people to talk into joining the situation. My friend was joining and all these things. We were glorified customers for a while enjoying the wine. I say we because I'm talking about my husband Ryan. He's on the wine journey with me but we weren't in a position where we were interested in being too aggressive and building a team. We were just feeling things out. We had a lot of other stuff going on but we knew that it was a no-brainer we were going to drink the wine, so we will join.
We did that and it has been such a cool adventure because right after I joined, they had the annual conference in Houston right here where I am. I was like, “It's fate. Let's do this.” Robin from Peloton was there. I was like, “If Robin from Peloton is there, I'm going to be there.” It was exciting. I’ve got to meet her and everything, which is a big deal to somebody like me that's Peloton-obsessed. It has been a cool journey. To fast forward, we structured our business with it. That way, we could have a team. We have 5 or 6 team members. We are truly doing it that way instead of being wine-drinking customers.
I'm glad you brought this up because there are so many opportunities out there for a side business, an extra stream of income or something part-time if you are a busy parent. There are all these different companies and products. I have tried hard to talk about this, whether it's on my Instagram or my show. Choose wisely. We make mistakes. I'm like you.
If anybody's thinking about doing something, definitely look at all aspects of it and dive in and enjoy it. Try to make it a cool, fun part of your life.
There was one that I did a long time ago before I even had the company that I tried. It was boring like you are saying about the other one. I didn't care so that didn't last. If anybody out there is thinking of starting something like this, make sure it's something that you like or are super interested in because if you are not, you will call it to quit.
Speaking of the community, I don't know whose line you are in but my upline doesn't even make money off of me. I'm so far down below her. I had one month where I sold $14,000 worth of wine. She was like, “What are you doing? I need to understand. No one has ever sold that in my downline.” She and I connected and loved each other.
She's out in San Diego, which is right near where my brother is. She was like, “We need to figure something out here. I want my team to learn from you.” Even the whole community is jumping on some of those like video calls and meeting other wine people. That community is a little similar to the community on Clubhouse. I show up and I'm like, “My friends are here. I know none of you but I feel like we are connected in some deeper way.”
The first time I was around a larger group of people with the wine company, I looked around and was like, “We can drive together. I'm feeling good feelings from you, people.” You are right. It's cool. If anybody is thinking about doing something like that, look at all aspects of it, dive in, enjoy it, and try to make it a cool and fun part of your life. If you are adding on an extra stream of income or something simply part-time and you don't “have to do it,” why not make it enjoyable and fun? That's the way I look at it.
It becomes something that you want to do. I did a wine tasting and the woman that was running was like, “Can you tell people what you do?” People were like, “Is this not your full-time gig?” I'm like, “This is my fun side hustle. I have a different full-time gig.” It was super fun. It makes sense now that you are an actress turned businesswoman, turned social media guru. How did the whole dancing on the treadmill thing start?
I became a runner on a treadmill. I know a lot of runners are not into treadmills and say how boring it is. For me, it changed and saved my life in a way. It's making it better. I had a treadmill back in the day before Peloton was around, had treadmills, and before any of that. We’ve got a treadmill when I was pregnant with my son, Rowdy. I knew that once I had him, I would want to exercise but I also knew I wasn't going to go to a gym. I knew myself. Some people will go to the gym. For me, I knew I wasn't going to do it. I knew if it was in the house, it was convenient.
One thing leads to another. I did that and became a runner. I love this part of my life. It's very important to help my mental health. It's a huge deal. When you are on the treadmill and listening to good music, even somebody who wouldn't do something very daring, you might bop along to the music and jam out a little. I have always done that. It was when I’ve got the new treadmill and that was January of 2020. I was like, “This thing feels good under the feet. This feels solid. It's different from a regular treadmill.” Honestly, one day I just decided to do it. The idea popped into my mind to record it.
Those early videos are funny because they are so bad compared to now. I'm like, “You are going slow. That's not hard at all, Britney. Challenge yourself.” You’ve got to start somewhere. I decided to record it and started sharing it with that community of people like in the Facebook Groups and stuff. Everything started going down with the pandemic and I was like, “What can I do to help?” The performer in me wants to go out there, make somebody smile and laugh, and do something fun like that. I started sharing more treadmill dancing videos on the spin bike or sometimes even dancing on the ground, believe it or not.
It became this beautiful, fun, and joy-filled thing. It had nothing to do with making any money. It was something I felt called to do that was silly, crazy, out-there and super fun. Many people would message and say how much they love the videos. Some of the videos went viral on TikTok, and then later on Instagram Reels. I had never experienced this before because I was always working on social media mostly for other people. My social media was this fun little place, where sometimes I would dance around in my Instagram Stories and we would have a good time. I focused on my work.
These videos exploded and I thought, “This is hilarious. I am this woman dancing on this exercise equipment and it's the most exciting thing I have ever done in my life.” I always like to tell people, hoping that this encourages somebody. All my life, ever since I was a child, all I dreamt of was performing in front of millions of people and making them laugh and smile. As an actor in Texas, you don't have the big opportunities. You have other places usually. My life didn't pan out that way.
I’ve got married, went in a different direction, and didn't move off to Los Angeles or New York to do that. You sometimes feel like, “My life isn't going the way that I planned.” What's so cool is that I ended up performing in front of millions of people and still do all the time. It's in a weird out-there way that I would never have imagined that has also led to other opportunities. I like to say that for people to hear because you can still get to that awesome destination. It's just the path might be different than what you imagined.
It also ended up helping me grow my business. In the middle of this dancing all over the exercise equipment fun I was having, my husband lost his job in August of 2020. All hell broke loose and everything went crazy in 2020. For a long time, he wasn't happy anymore in this industrial construction world. He's leaving the house at 4:30. We are barely seeing him his whole life. For the whole time I have known him, we have been talking about if he could find something else to do, where he could be at home more often like how I worked at home.
When this happened, he called me that day, and I had already been doing the dancing and having fun with that, “This happened. What do you think? Tomorrow I can go out and start applying for new jobs or is this our chance?” I was like, “This is our chance for sure.” It was one of the scariest things ever. At that point in August 2020, my company was still much smaller. It was part-time because I was in charge of being the parent that did all the kids' stuff, took the kids to school activities, and he was working a whole lot but in a snap, we had to switch places.
His income immediately stopped, so I was like, “Here we go.” It's interesting because many times, many of us talk about what we want and what we are dreaming of. Whenever you have the chance, unfortunately, a lot of people don't do it because it's scary. I understand that because it is scary. I felt it but we said, “We have to do this.” I knew my company could grow to be a multimillion-dollar company. There was no problem. That was not a doubt but I had to do the work and miss out on some of the parenting things.
It has been an interesting journey. Making that swap, growing my business out of need, him starting to figure out his own entrepreneurial journey, and this dancing thing that was happening for me on social media started helping grow my business. I was like, “I can't even believe that my number one marketing tool is me dancing on a treadmill.” This is hilarious and amazing at the same time because I have clients that that's how they found me. They are actual and full-on big clients. They were like, “I love your videos. I need your social media help.” You never know what's going to happen.
Does he have any involvement in the business?
You can still get to that really awesome destination. It's just, the path might be different than what you imagined.
He has discovered that he's great at sales, which is not a surprise because of his personality. He's a good old Southern Texas boy that likes to chat. He's good at sales. He's doing several things in sales. He's helping the wine business with sales and doing sales for a company owned by his best friend. He has helped me with some things in my company as it's growing because when a company is growing, you have these weird phases where it's like, “Am I going to hire help? Am I going to be super busy for a little while? Which one?” You have to work through that. He has been helpful and jumped in with the kids and all that stuff. It has been great.
It is so amazing how this pandemic has given us all a chance to reset. It was such a necessary pause that the world needed to take in that sense. I know a lot of people lost loved ones and that whole side of it is awful. For so many others, it was such an opportunity to reflect and be like, “What do I want to do? What's important? What are my values? What's the legacy I want to leave on this world?” We all looked at it like, “We could be next.” I'm healthy but we all went through this feeling of, “It could be anyone.” I love hearing the stories that came out of it. They are stories like this.
This is something you hear when you are a kid in school, somebody comes to your school, and they speak to all of you middle schoolers or high schoolers. They give you this speech about, “Tough times will make you stronger. Look for the opportunities in life.” You are like, “Whatever,” and rolling your eyes. Even as you get into adulthood, you hear people talk about these things. Maybe you go to a conference or see Tony Robbins and hear it. You can't quite make that connection until you are living it and going, “That was a hard time because we chose to look at it as an opportunity. As a chance to do something amazing and live the life that we want, and not just dream about it. It all turned out beautifully.” It's amazing.
That's the entrepreneurial way. It's action. I always say that to people, “You can think about it, dream about it, and plan for it but unless you take the step forward and start doing the things that need to be done, it's not going to happen.”
I'm all about action. I was talking to one of my team members and I told her that. I was asking her to do something and I was like, “Can you tell that I'm a done-is-better-than-perfect person? All before you came on board here, I did all these things but now they need to be polished.” Sometimes we dive in, start working and then make it look pretty in the process.
You and I had a similar conversation. I was completely the opposite of this woman. She was like, “Perfection over progress.” I was like, “I just jump off the cliff and figure it out on the way down.” That's what I am. People that read this are probably sick of reading this but that's how I roll. The only way to get anywhere is to start. I put a course out there called Foster University and it was a six-week course to start and build your business. I hadn't even written Week 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. I only wrote Week One. I was like, "I'm going to do this six-week course."
I’ve got eight people to sign up for it and was like, “I’ve got to write five more weeks of this.” It's fun that way. I'm an under-pressure person. I work so much better, which is why I had to give myself deadlines for this tool kit. Up until the night before, I'm like, “I have a great idea. I'm going to throw it out there to the universe.” People are like, “I thought you are launching tomorrow.” I'm like, “I am but it's still a great idea. We are going to do it. I'm going to make it happen.” Thank God I have some technical skills.
I'm good like that, too. I give myself a deadline and I know it will happen. I'm going to do it. I don't know how much of it will get done all the way up until a couple of days before but I'm going to get it done.
You mentioned that you have this membership. Tell me a little bit about what goes on in the Britney membership.
It's called Small Biz Social Society. The membership is focused on content creation for social media. It's helpful for people with personal brands because you are the face of your brand. That's who's going to benefit a whole lot from the membership. I wanted to create where I could help more business owners at once because client work is limiting, even growing a team. Can we serve more people? Of course, but it's still not quite the same as you can with group education, teaching, and all that jazz that goes along with that. I could help 1,000 business owners just the same as I could help 10 in a membership setting.
As a business owner, it made sense for me to do that and it was efficient. I could see this beautiful vision of it growing to be this awesome group of people. That's exactly what has happened, and we are going to keep growing. We have somewhere in between 40 and 50 members, and they are so cool. They want to put themselves out there on social media more, step it up and do the videos, cool stuff, photos, graphics, stories, and connect with the audience. They need that support and push. For training, I have a guest speaker every single month. They are cool people that know a lot about online marketing. We all joined together as this community of entrepreneurs that want to put themselves out there in the world and use social media. It's great.
Are they paying a monthly fee or a yearly fee?
They are paying monthly. It's $48 a month. My enrollment is opening back up in summer 2021. I haven't officially announced the date yet but it is opening up in July of 2021 for a short time. Enrollment is a lot of work. We can only open it up for ten days, shuffle everybody in that wants to join, and then cut it off for a little while so that we can get in there and do the work together.
You said you go live in that group once a month.
I do live training myself and have a new guest speaker every single month with different expertise. I have had my buddy that's a copywriter and a Pinterest expert. Somebody is coming to help with mindset for entrepreneurs. There are all kinds of things that they are going to benefit from and people that know things that I don't know. I'm there to be the ringleader and lend my assistance social media-wise but I also have all these great friends across the world that can come in and be guest speakers. That's what has been made it extra interesting. We had a TikTok superstar. He's modest. He came in and talked about his journey. It has been a beautiful experience. There are all kinds of tools, tutorials, and how to do this and that. The education mixed with the community aspect of it is good.
I do the same thing. I have the Foster Women community. We should talk about doing a content swap.
There's just something really special about intentionally creating a community.
There's something special about intentionally creating a community. It's cool when they happen accidentally as well. You set out to do that like, “I want to bring people together because they want to do A, B and C.” When you start seeing that happen, it's one of the most fulfilling things ever.
I love my community. I call them my Foster Women because I feel possessive over them. They are all vetted and amazing women. I'm such a networker and a connector, so I love connecting amazing women who do amazing things with other amazing women and do amazing things. I let them help and support each other grow. I've got an amazing website designer that I introduced to all my women that are looking for websites or revamps. I make a lot of those marriages. It's super fun. In Judaism, it's called the Shidduch. Is there anything else you want to share before we wrap it up?
I'm happy to have gotten to come and chat with you. I appreciate it. Next time, we will do it with wine.
Thank you so much, Britney. I appreciate you, your time, and all that you do for entrepreneurs, social media and entertainment. You kept a lot of people sane during the pandemic.
Thank you so much.
Follow Britney. She's awesome. She will make you smile and laugh, and she will give you great content ideas for your social.
Thank you so much.
You are welcome. Thank you.
About Britney Crosson
Britney Crosson is the owner of Fun Love Media, an online marketing company that specializes in social media management and content creation. She is also the host and producer of The Social Sunshine Podcast, a top rated marketing podcast that helps small business owners with social media marketing. With a lifelong background as a performer, Britney knows what it takes to attract and engage with an audience. Most recently known for her dancing videos - on a bike, on a treadmill, or even on the ground - and reaching over 10 million views on social platforms, Britney entertains her social media audience daily and has a follower count of over 50,000. She loves to help other business owners use their strengths and passions to create amazing content and use social media for good.