Sanity Savers, Digital Media Marketing and Wiener Dogs with Michelle Faulds

Meet Michelle Faulds, co-owner of SlyFox Digital Media Marketing out of London, ON. SlyFox offers digital marketing solutions for small to medium-sized business and start-ups such as web design, search engine optimization, social media management, content creation and distribution, graphic design and branding, Google paid ad management and more!

What inspired you to become a Fempire Builder? 

My husband.  After over 20 years in sales and marketing, I had totally burnt out and was suffering from severe depression and pain after a car accident. My business partner and husband, Mike, encouraged me to keep busy within the business. I found it became not only an outlet but an incredible passion for me. He is my biggest cheerleader and fan for sure.

What’s the best part about owning your own business? 

The best part of owning a business is building relationships with local business owners. My clients become my friends and we all support each other every chance we get. 

Can you describe a typical day?

A typical day for me is to wake up at five or six AM; not by choice. (my husband is an early riser and oddly chipper!), and head to the couch to check out social media, answer emails and drink copious amounts of coffee while cuddling with my 3 mini wiener dogs. 

Once I am all coffee’d out, I shower and head to work to work on tasks with my staff of 10 and my husband. Every day is different as we have sales meetings, client tasks, website builds, social media campaigns to go over and a whole lot more. 

I head home around four or five PM to eat and either binge watch Netflix or work; depending on how much downtime I need. There is always work to be done. A hot bath and bedtime depends on my stress level. I do turn the volume off on my phone after 7 pm to relax a little.

Who do you count on for help? 

My staff, my kids (age 18 and 27) and my husband. Combined, they create a support network that brings a smile to my face each time I think of them.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa? 

Yes, but I don’t mind. I used to do my own house cleaning but there are only so many hours in the day. The success of our business has afforded me the luxury of hiring a house cleaner so that I can get a little down time for myself.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is? 

There is rarely a day off, but there are hours here and there where I take some time to do fun and relaxing things. I love hiking, Netflix and going to the movies. Each of these activities help me “shut off my brain” for a much needed few hours.

Tell us about your absolute favourite hobby. 

My favourite hobby is hiking. I love being totally “unplugged” and getting back to nature.

If you could go back in time and tell you start-up self one thing, what would it be? 

I would tell myself to not focus on the money or end result as I did in my 20’s. Instead, focus on building relationships and being happy doing what you do and the money will come.

What does the future look like for you and your business? 

We are desperately in need of more space. The future will bring a new building for us so that we can continue to expand staff while not sitting in each other’s laps.

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business? 

Find something you are passionate about so that it doesn’t feel like “work” and you will find fulfillment AND success. Most of all, be patient with yourself. We all make mistakes as we learn and grow.

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur? 

My “why” is to create a more fulfilling and rewarding life for myself and my family.  Growing up we didn’t have a ton of money and I struggled financially for years so I wasn’t able to give a whole lot to my children.

That has changed and it feels amazing. Recently my son’s dog became very ill and because of my business, I was able to, without hesitation, pay the huge vet bills for treatment. Sadly, she did not make it, but I am so pleased that I was able to alleviate this unexpected stress for my son.

Outside of your business, what’s a dream of yours? Share it with us.

Outside of my business, my dream is to be super healthy and energetic. This may sound silly to some but health is something we often take for granted. My parents did and now that they are getting a little older, a new health issue crops up frequently for them. They had stresses and we lived off a traditional meat and potatoes diet. We never spoke about self-care or stress management. My goal is to be more in tune with my body by eliminating toxins, exercising, eating right, reducing stress and being active and healthy for many years to come. I want to be that lady who is 95 and looks and feels 50!

Give us your best self-care/self-love technique. 

My best self-car technique is STOP. If you feel stressed, or get a bad vibe – just STOP. Stop what you are doing and have a hot bath, take a five-minute break or a walk with a few deep breaths. Nothing in life is so important that you can’t take five minutes to care for your own mental health.

What is your favourite app/tool for your business and why? 

My favourite tool for my business is SmarterQueue. I am a visual person and this program allows me to see social media posts before they are posted and schedule them out. I run over 50 accounts so I need to manage my time effectively and this tool saves my sanity. 

What was the best book you ever read for your life as a fempire builder? What was your biggest takeaway from it? 

The Greatest Miracle in The World by Og Mandino. This book was given to me by my very first boss who had faith in my sales ability. It contains a letter from God that gives every reason why you are unique and special. I don’t re-read the book, but I keep a copy and read that letter every time I need it.

At the end of the day, what do you want us to know about you and your business? 

My business truly is my lifeline. My business, my clients, my staff; they are all like family to me. My husband is the money guy, but, for me, the relationships I am making are the real payoff. Cool websites and sales results for clients are just a great byproduct!

How do you keep going on those days when you’re left questioning what you got yourself into when you started a business? What would you tell another fempire builder feeling that way right now? 

I don’t keep going. On the days that I question why I am doing this, I stop. I take a day off or go for a massage. Meeting friends for lunch or going shopping are other possibilities. Everyone needs downtime and I would say exactly that to any fempire builder who is feeling burnt out.

Find out more about the relationships Michelle is building and the clients she is helping on her website. You can also connect with Sly Fox Digital Media Marketing on Facebook or Instagram.

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Overwhelmed by the transition to entrepreneurship?

I’ve been there. When I left the corporate and small business worlds to start my own business, I didn’t know what I was in for. I saw other women living lives that I wanted to be mine, and wondered, “How are they doing it?” Knowing something had to give, I totally changed the way I’m running and building my business.

As a mother, blogger, mentor, speaker and business owner, I am used to balancing the demands of many roles. It is hard to “do it all,” and I have learned how to adjust to those expectations. Stick with me and you’ll be diving into your business with fresh eyes and a growth-centered mindset faster than you ever imagined!

It all came to a head in the Fall of 2015. With my daughter’s autism diagnosis and my postpartum depression following my son’s birth, my Spring/Summer that year had been pretty rough. I was feeling pretty kicked around — to say the least. As I was crawling out of the dark and twisty places life had cornered me in that year, I knew that everything had changed.

For many reasons, I couldn’t go back to my corporate life. One of the biggest reasons was that my perspective on how I was going to live my life had changed. A shift had happened. My time away from my children was going to be spent doing things that I was passionate about. Doing things that got me pumped about life. In May of 2016, I went out on my own and started my business. It was great. I was finally doing things that had me pumped about my time away from my kids. I had the flexibility to spend more time with them. At the end of the day, I had the energy to work in my household and my marriage.

But, while I was living my passion and excited about my life again, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Previously, I was a teacher, a sales professional, marketing leader and client services manager. By setting clear objectives, I succeeded in each role, even though they were in different industries.

But being an entrepreneur was a whole new world. I felt the loneliness. I had self-doubt. I didn’t know where to start…and I wasn’t the only one in this boat.

Whether I’m out speaking to a room full of female entrepreneurs or leading a workshop, one of the things that I hear over and over again from these amazing women is how great it is to be out from behind their desks and surrounded by a group of like-minded women. And as our conversation continues, it becomes clear that they are looking for a tribe of women that they can connect and collaborate with regularly in an environment that is welcoming, encouraging and safe enough to let their walls down and share. I needed a community like this too. One that encourages fellow members as they conquer fears, overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. A tribe that leaves me with a new comfort level and the confidence I’m craving to expand my growth and limits — both personally and professionally.

And most importantly, I wanted a place that would offer me more than inspiration. One that would give me the actionable advice, education and mentorship, support and accountability that we all need.

And from these conversations and my own needs, Fempire Builders was born.

You see, it’s not just me. And it’s not just you. We are not alone. And when we come together, it’s a powerful thing. With the Fempire Builders community supporting me and holding me accountable, I have experienced the business growth that previously I had only dreamed about.

Just as it has been for other Fempire Builders, it will be the same for you, too. Wait and see!