Name: Myah Salinas
Occupation/Business: Social media manager and owner of Sugar Cotton Candy
Tell us how you got into your field. I started Sugar Cotton Candy when I was 15, and I was running pretty much every aspect of it on my own. I had to learn how to market and build a clientele really quickly if I wanted my business to succeed, so I really started with a “learn by doing” approach. As I started to see real success with my methods, I realized how passionate I was about watching my business grow and I really wanted to do that for other companies. Bakersfield has such a wonderful community of small business owners, and I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of it and work and learn from others.
What is your "why?" (Why do you get out of bed every morning and do what you do?) Every day is an opportunity for something new. Part of what I love about being a small business owner and social media manager is that no day looks the same. There are always new challenges and opportunities for learning and growth, you just have to go out and find them. That’s part of why I started expanding my social media work to small businesses other than my own: the chance to learn about different industries and ensure that every day is different.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Since I was young my mother has always told me not to waste time on things that aren’t bringing me joy. When I found that traditional schooling wasn’t for me, she started homeschooling me and she never made me stick with an activity that I wasn’t enjoying. This gave me so much of the courage and adaptability required to start and run my business and to begin managing other businesses' social media on top of it. By following this advice, I got to know myself so well and I learned never to be afraid of going after what I want.
What is the biggest challenge in the marketplace/business that you’ve overcome?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is definitely COVID-19. My business depends on people holding events and parties, which became an impossibility over the past year and a half. Luckily things are starting to open back up now, but at the start of the pandemic, I was forced to rethink my business model. I started offering delivery to adapt Sugar Cotton Candy to the COVID world, and it’s been a wonderful new addition to my business that I plan to carry into the future. Getting through COVID made me a much more adaptable and innovative business owner and inspired me to expand my business.
What is your proudest achievement of your career thus far?
Starting a boutique marketing agency was a scary step for me because in the past I had full creative control in my business and I was worried my style would not appeal to other clients. The agency is still very much in its starting phases, but I’ve learned and grown so much already by working with other businesses. I worried that it would be too much to balance these other businesses on top of my own, but if anything the connections I have made and the work I have done for others has only made me a better owner and marketing manager for my own business. I’m so proud of myself for taking that risk and so glad I did because the payoff has been huge.
What’s next for you in your career?
For the moment, I’m focusing on expanding my agency, finding new clients, and helping my current clients reach new heights. I’m also working on new collaborative efforts with other designers and digital marketers to better serve clients, and I’m always looking for new opportunities for collaboration.
What advice would you give to other young professionals and entrepreneurs in Bakersfield?
Reach out to other professionals in Bakersfield! There’s a really supportive and welcoming environment here, especially in the small business community, and I’ve been so lucky to meet so many other entrepreneurs who are willing to help my business thrive and to have the opportunity to help them in return. Forming those connections and networks has been invaluable to me and my business and it has made my work so much more fulfilling.
How do you hope to help improve Bakersfield, or bring to the community overall?
Outside of my work with local small businesses, I’ve worked with Kern County Rotaract Club to exchange ideas with leaders in the community and take action on important service missions. I lend my marketing skills to create digital marketing campaigns and raise funds to build a well in Africa. Kern County Rotaract is a fantastic part of our community and I’m incredibly humbled to be a part of such a great group of people. I’ve also recently done work sharing information about the COVID-19 vaccine to help people get vaccinated and get our community back on its feet.
Social media contact information: Instagram—@myahsalinasmarketing and @sugarscottoncandy
What is one thing you wish you would have known before starting your career? I wish I had known how important social media is to a business and how much time you have to invest in it if you want it to be successful. I taught myself for years before starting my education at CSUB in business marketing and it can be really difficult to figure out on your own. That’s why I want to put my skills to use by helping other businesses navigate digital marketing. It’s hard enough to be a business owner without having to build years of experience in design and marketing at the same time. My agency takes the pressure off of small business owners to be marketing experts and lets them focus on the aspects of their business that are most important to them.