Managing Director / SBJ Studios
It’s always a little thrilling to come across a very accomplished person – they make you sit up a bit straighter and pay attention. And if that person happens to only be in her twenties, and is generous, friendly, and a smart businesswoman? Ahhhh nothing better. Jarrah Brailey is the founder of SBJ Studios, a Social Media agency, that specialises in strategy, management and training.
From her home office, Jarrah told us about her down to earth childhood that helped to ignite her entrepreneurial spirit, her time at highschool, and her career to date.
If you are wanting a major doe of inspiration heading into the last weeks of 2020, then this interview is for you.
Let’s dive in.
Where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up at the very top of the Blue Mountains – in Blackheath. As beautiful as the Blue Mountains is, it’s definitely secluded from the rest of the world… So as a young girl, this pushed me to turn to social media to connect with friends, family, brands and public figures outside of the Blue Mountains community. I got my first Facebook account when I was just 10 years old, and my first Instagram account just a year or so after. From a very young age, social media has been a huge part of my everyday and my identity. I truly know it like the back of my hand, and I found a passion for expressing my creativity on it very early on through writing, strategy, community building and content creation. In fact, I’ve often taken for granted just how simple social media marketing is for me. There’s so many aspects to strategy development & content marketing that, for a while, I just assumed were common sense to everyone? But oh boy was I wrong… and this realisation was one of my biggest reasons for starting SBJ in the first place when I was just 19.
When you were a young girl what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a news reporter funnily enough, my goal was always to study journalism. I never even considered a career in social media, as it was almost unheard of at that stage. I grew up around entrepreneurs; business is a big part of my family which in hindsight gave me quite the entrepreneurial spirit from day one.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to Blue Mountains Grammar School. It was such a great school. I was never the top of the class, I didn’t excel in anything other than sport, I wasn’t the most studious and definitely didn’t really give any subjects (except English & PE) a good go. As amazing as the school was, in hindsight, my highschool years were when I began to develop serious issues with my own self worth… which in hindsight, is probably why I never gave school a good go… I never thought I would amount to much anyway. I was a bit of a class clown and did anything to make the class laugh. However, English was the one subject I really loved and found quite easy to do well in – even with little study.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
I’d love to say it did, but to be completely honest… not really. While I loved highschool and I learnt a lot about the subjects I did and didn’t like, it was definitely my post-high-school experiences that played the most important role in guiding me down this career path. For me, it was after highschool that I learnt the most about my own personal values and how they relate to my career and overall life purpose.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
Yes, I did one week of work experience for an accountancy firm… and quickly learnt it was absolutely not for me (every possible aspect of our accounting is outsourced now – hahaha!)
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I have actually never studied social media marketing. I have never been to uni or TAFE. University was my original plan after leaving highschool, I was enrolled to study psychology… but my business ended up taking off before I could start. Instead, I consistently invest in my skills through workshops, seminars, etc. These workshops have been great, but to be completely honest… I’m predominantly self taught. I feel like this has given me a great advantage as I definitely feel I bring a new approach to social media marketing. Marketing strategies, content ideas, copywriting and everything in between have always been things that come quite easily to me. I always say that I often take for granted just how simple social media marketing is for me – I think it might be a combination of my obsession with social media and my age/generation. That said, digital marketing is an extremely fast paced industry… so investing time and money into using the platforms personally and knowing them inside and out is a very important aspect of my job.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights?
My first big highlight/career milestone was quitting my accountancy/admin job at the end of 2018 to take my business full time. I was 20 at the time and so excited to finally have full working weeks to do what I loved! My second highlight would have to be employing our first team member in January 2019 – Hannah. Hannah is our content marketing manager and is still with us today – I couldn’t imagine this business without her! And finally, our big rebrand at the end of 2019. We went from just little old freelancing me “Socials By Jarrah” to a company and a team of incredibly talented social media nerds (we are a small team of 3). There have been so many other highlights in between as well – we’ve worked with some amazing brands (big and small) and some incredible people that I have admired for a long time.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
I feel like most people that get into social media marketing have a funny chain of events that got them there – for me it’s the same. I was 18 and working a casual job for a Glamping company (Nomadic Belle), at the time I was just saving to travel Europe. My job was to set up tents, but after a couple of months working there… the owner (Danni) picked up on my love/obsession with social media marketing and asked if I would like to manage their account for $10 per day. My answer was a huge YES! I wasn’t phased by the extra money at all, I was just so excited to run a brand’s account and flex my social media marketing muscles. From here, more and more brands started to find out I was managing Nomadic Belle’s social media marketing as we experienced huge growth. These brands began to reach out to me for my “social media services”… I didn’t have any! So, ‘Socials By Jarrah’ was born… and the rest is history.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
I work from home by myself (my team is remote). I have days where I find it really hard to stay focused and get things done as I’m definitely an extrovert – and work best when with people. It’s my goal this year to move into a coworking space in Sydney.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
My Mondays always start with a team WIP meeting – where we chat through our current projects, clients and progress for each client/project. This is when I catch up with my team and delegate tasks. After our WIP meeting, we all get to work and stay in contact via Whatsapp, zoom and emails. My days are usually taken up by client calls, Facebook ad optimising, copywriting, and jumping on our own social media / Instagram stories where I keep our online community in the loop on what we’re up to that day.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Growing up and even now, my dad is my greatest inspiration. Anyone who has met him would understand why. He’s smart, hard working and extremely intuitive. When it comes to both life and business, … I guess you could say my Dad is my unofficial life mentor. There have been many times (especially in 2019) that I was really struggling as I tried to keep up with a rapidly growing business and what felt like a super dramatic personal life too… and when things got too hard, or I feel like giving up, my Dad was and always has been the person to snap me out of it and remind me that I’m capable of anything I put my mind to. Not only that, but my Dad has been a huge inspiration to me throughout my whole life. When he sets his mind to a goal, there’s literally nothing that can get in his way. Whether it’s a career goal, a travel goal or more-often-than-not… a yoga goal? He chases after it with no excuses, procrastination or self doubt. As a young woman, it’s been amazing to be raised by a man who’s passionate about being his best self – professionally, physically and emotionally.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
There’s so much i could say here! But I guess I’d love to put it out there that that you do not have to be the smartest, the richest or the best in the room to achieve what you want. As cliche as it sounds – all it takes is believing in yourself, committing to a goal and working hard to achieve it. As someone who has struggled with their own self worth their whole life, this business has become a constant reminder of what I’m capable of when I let go of my fear and just get stuck in — for that I’m so thankful. I wish I could go back and give year 10 me a big hug and tell her she’s capable of more than she thinks — so if you’re reading this and feeling lost or not good enough to do something, remember that the only thing holding you back from achieving whatever you want is the belief that you can’t in the first place.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: @emmaclaiir
- Favourite Podcast: I have two! 1) Two Open Books and 2) Funny Business Podcast
- Favourite Netflix/Stan/ Series: Friends… hands down.
- Who is your mentor? (This can be a person you follow for advice, or an IRL person). Pru Chapman from Owners Collective
- Favourite all time book/s: ‘How Women Rise’ & ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’
- Favourite App that you use every day: LinkedIn & Instagram of course!