“I found out almost by accident that the thing that lights me up is helping other businesses to succeed.”
Erika McInerney from Mac&Ernie is a seasoned marketer with over 25 years of experience, holding degrees in Media & Communication and a Masters in Marketing. She’s certified by the Australian Marketing Institute, and her expertise has earned her recognition as a finalist and award winner in various marketing and small business awards.
Through her business Mac&Ernie, she helps small business owners, accidental marketers, and community leaders in regional and rural areas stop stressing and guessing when it comes to marketing and social media. She does this through individual training, workshops and webinars, online resources and speaking, and her podcast.
In 2011, she and her husband moved from Melbourne to Warragul, initially leaving behind the world of advertising and marketing for a quiet country life. However, after about 18 months, she co-started a farmers’ market, reigniting her passion for marketing, particularly on the then-new Facebook platform. With no budget, she leveraged social media to support local businesses, gaining insight into their tech and marketing challenges. As requests for help grew, she launched Mac&Ernie in 2016, initially as a ‘side hustle,’ transitioning to full-time by July of the same year.
Erika excels in understanding consumer behaviour and navigating social media, both paid and organic, especially in rural areas. With strong networks and a dedication to continuous learning, she provides up-to-date knowledge and effective social media strategies.
Erika is dedicated to educating others on learning how to do Better Social® – a belief she stands by so strongly that she trademarked the phrase. With Better Social, Erika empowers others to get a better return on their time and money investment. She teaches simple yet effective tools, combining empathy with insights and analytics to craft engaging content that resonates, educates, and converts followers into customers and brand advocates.
Beyond business benefits, Better Social boosts client’s confidence, fostering positive relationships with social media apps and email lists. Erika’s personal mission is to contribute to a more genuine and positive social media experience for all.
Erika joined the HerBusiness Network to improve her planning skills and stay accountable. After realising she had stretched herself too thin for too long, she now benefits from a supportive group that holds her accountable and imparts valuable skills and processes to enhance her professional capabilities
Erika loves Gippsland, actively collaborating with local government and tourism. She’s deeply involved in supporting communities, co-founding the Warragul Farmers Market and Binary Shift Conference. Recently, she became the Program Manager for the Gippsland Community Leadership Program (GCLP). You can learn more about her community passion on her podcast, ‘Small Town Business with Erika McInerney.’
Who’s your favourite entrepreneur and why?
In recent years, I’ve found myself really enjoying connecting with Kate Toon who has a very authentic and open approach to business. She is successful but not afraid to show people the truth about how she got there, what challenges she’s faced and that success doesn’t necessarily mean ‘ease’ all the time. This approach makes it easier for small business owners to see the hard work and not just the shiny and often unachievable facade presented by many entrepreneurs on social media. Honesty is kind.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I found out almost by accident that the thing that lights me up is helping other businesses to succeed. I definitely enjoy the feeling of knowing I’ve helped someone find clarity and purpose in their business and the confidence to put themselves out there more.
What three pieces of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started?
- Prepare to succeed. If someone had told me that, I would have held back on launching until I had all my systems in place. Retrofitting while you are scaling is difficult.
- Set clear boundaries on your time and do not allow your clients or yourself to cross those boundaries.
- Support may not come from those closest to you but you will find it if you are open to new people and new possibilities. #findyourtribe is not just a silly hashtag it’s a vital part of starting and running a business and the sooner you find the right people, the better
What advice would YOU give someone thinking about starting a business?
All of those things I just said! But also I do believe you need to create a realistic business plan. Include all your lofty goals (or Big Kahunas) and never lose sight of them, but when you are starting out you should never look at someone else’s business ‘middle’ and expect to get there in an unrealistic time frame.
Something I say to my clients all the time is “You are not them”.
Your business goals and the reasons you need to achieve them are not like anyone else’s. Your capabilities and talents are not like anyone else’s. Building a business plan that is truly yours will be much easier to follow and will have more meaning and more impact on your life than trying to fit your business into someone else’s plan
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
- Finances – Get across your finances as quickly as you can, even if you have someone else managing them.
- Marketing and Social Media – Again, even if someone else is managing this for you, you need to be a part of the process and be able to understand if it’s working for you and your business.
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you’re not there yet, what would it look like if your business was ideal?
I love my business but I still spend too much time and energy in it and ideally I would have more freedom to take care of myself more. My ideal business would still be profitable, still help a lot of people, but not require so much of my ‘presence’.
Learn more about Erika and Mac&Ernie.