This interview was originally conducted and published by Babes Who Hustle on their website. Check out the original article here or keep reading below:
HANA FERGUSON – Co-Founder, Ferg Creative
Today’s babe wears all the hats, all the time. Hana is the co-founder, social media marketing and events pro at Ferg Creative: a multi-disciplinary studio with a focus on graphic design, web design, social media, and content creation. She runs the biz alongside her partner in crime (and life), and together they create quality work for a variety of clients. From project management to photography to copywriting and beyond, Hana does it all. She’s constantly on her toes, moving from task-to-task and loving every minute of the entrepreneurial gig—even when it gets chaotic (which is often).
Hometown: Winter Haven, FL
Current city: Jacksonville, FL
Alma mater: University of North Florida
Degree: B.S., Communication: Public Relations
Very first job: Server at Cracker Barrel
Hustle: Social Media Marketing/Events Manager & Co-Founder, Ferg Creative
Babe you admire and why?
I don’t have one particular babe that I admire more than the other. Over the last few years, I’ve been pretty lucky to have surrounded myself with some pretty inspiring women. These babes are past bosses, co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, and just really awesome friends I’ve met and grown with over time. They’ve all inspired me in one way or another. The Jacksonville community is pretty damn supportive and I couldn’t have gotten any luckier.
How do you spend your ‘free’ time?
I’m pretty much working all of the time, but if I find free time, I try to go to the gym, take silly videos of my husband Sean dancing, ride my bike, bask in the great outdoors, mother my plants, eat everything at BREW, and dance like a queen to the one and only DJ Nick Fresh whenever I can.
Last book you read or show you watched?
Last show: New Girl on Netflix. One of my favorite shows of all-time. Highly recommended. Too good.
Three deserted island essentials?
My ukulele, my film camera and a paddle board.
Are you a collector of anything?
I am obsessed with collecting plants, succulents, cacti and herbs, etc.
What’s something you want to learn or master?
Personally, I would really like to learn AND master the ukulele. I have practiced on and off but not very consistently. There is just something so soothing about hearing the ukulele. I should probably learn how to be more patient first. Professionally, I would like to learn more about all the skills I offer in my business. I’d like to become a better writer, a better photographer, a better marketer, a better communicator. Mastering these skills will inevitably help me master running my own business and keep it going long-term.
What’s something most don’t know about you?
I used to belly dance at events and weddings in high school and college. It was a real confidence-booster for me and I would spend hours dancing to Arabic music to find the right one before performing.
What IG account have you been binge-scrolling lately?
I just bought a house, so all I have been binge-scrolling is anything house decor-related. That and any accounts that have homes decorated with a bunch of plants.
Tell us about your hustle.
I feel like an overview doesn’t really explain what I do at Ferg Creative because I wear so many hats. Overall, though, my job focuses on social media marketing, project management, event consulting and content creation. Depending on the client, I manage social media accounts, create content, and create and manage multiple events/projects based on the goals presented to me.
What does your typical workday look like? Which various ‘hats’ do you wear throughout the day?
A typical workday for me is NEVER the same. Every day I am doing something different. Which is why I love running a business. For the most part. Depending on the week, I am: prepping for an upcoming event, working that event, working with sponsors on any future events, doing a photoshoot for an upcoming menu, planning an upcoming block party, answering emails, coordinating workshops and weddings, scheduling a month’s worth of content for a client, designing some sort of ad/flyer/worksheet for someone. There is luxury in owning a business in the marketing world, but there is also chaos. I love the chaos part of it. It keeps me on my toes and always thinking of what to do next.
Have you always had a passion for storytelling? Where do you think that comes from, and how do you approach storytelling through your marketing?
My passion for storytelling really grew when I was at UNF. I was part of the Interfaith Center on campus for three years, and my whole focus was to help students, faculty and staff understand each other and grow from an interfaith conversation or experience. We sat with groups of all kinds of people and listened to their stories, and talked about how we related to them and how we could grow and help others based on what we learned. This really helped me understand more about myself and what I wanted to do post-graduation. I wanted to share other people’s stories. I wanted to be a part of a platform that helped other people succeed. Whether it was a business, an artist at a market or even a friend, I wanted to be there for them and share their story. My approach is simple: connect and communicate. Share stories that you relate to and connect with, and the communication part will be easy.
What has the evolution of Ferg Creative been like since you created it, and what was the most important piece of your vision for it?
After working a nonprofit job for three and a half years, I decided it was time for me to do something else. I wasn’t sure at the time what else I wanted to do, but I quit my job without any real backup plan. This happened at the same time that a local downtown bar, The Volstead, was switching ownership and needed a marketing person, and my name had popped up in the conversation. So for a while I did marketing and events for The Volstead and realized that I still loved planning events and I wanted to continue on in the marketing field. My husband actually started the idea of “Ferg Creative” back in 2014 when he was a design student at UNF. It didn’t become an actual established tax-paying business until I had approached him in January of 2018 about making this our full-time gig. Ferg Creative has grown so much in the last few years. From being an idea, an LLC, to hiring an accountant and really growing our clientele, we’ve expanded our services, limited our services and even made new friends. The most important piece of our vision for it was that we wanted to have more creative independence in our work and have more time to focus on other paths of income.
What were some of the obstacles you encountered during the early stages of Ferg Creative?
Finding the RIGHT clients for our business was the biggest obstacle. When we first started out, we were accepting anyone who would hire us, but quickly realized that not everyone was willing to pay what they were asking from us. They wanted cheap labor over experience. My advice would be to take it slow. Do your research, don’t be afraid to ask entrepreneurs in your field, and create a brand for yourself before looking for clients. Make sure you know exactly what to offer, how much you want to charge for a service and how much you’re willing to work for any client that wants to hire you. Overall: Don’t sell yourself short. Know your worth.
How do you tackle and stay organized in your workload and responsibilities?
TO-DO LISTS ARE A LIFESAVER. I’m an old fashioned type of gal, so pen and paper is my go-to. I tend to write out everything I need to do per client, so my to-do lists can get long.
How have your past professional and academic experiences and lessons prepared you for the work you do today? How have they not prepared you?
I’ve done a lot of different projects, events, internships and jobs that are all related to what I do today. If something sounds fun, I’ll volunteer to work it. I went to school for Marketing and Communications so I had some idea about how to plan an event, budget, coordinate, etc.—but there are a lot of things that school couldn’t teach me that professional experience could. I’m really good at throwing myself in situations and figuring it out as I go along. Some people call it “fake it til you make it” and I call it “just do what you have to do to get by.” I’ve always found a way to make things work no matter what, even if it meant asking for assistance along the way.
What would you say is your biggest career milestone to date and why?
I think leaving my safety net and starting out as a full-time freelancer is a pretty big career milestone. Not knowing how everything was going to turn out but then seeing that people do appreciate me, my expertise and my services has been the most rewarding thing for me. To know that I am good enough to be my own boss and do what I love everyday has been the biggest milestone.
How has being a woman impacted your professional experience? What can we do to create more equal, uplifting (and well-paying!) spaces for women in your industry?
I’ve met some wonderful babes who have helped me become a better person professionally, but I think we could all ask for more support and exposure. I believe that a lot more women do marketing and events than men (and it helps that we’re generally more organized), but I feel like most of the time we’re all still competing against each other. We all want clients and we all want to plan similar events, etc. I think there’s plenty of opportunity for more collaborations, more exposure for our businesses, and just overall support.
What are some common misconceptions about your job? What are some struggles that we might not see?
A lot of people think that I work multiple jobs. They don’t understand that I run one business and work with many clients. The hardest part for people outside of the industry to understand is that planning events, creating content, scheduling social media, sending out press releases; all of this takes a lot of time, a lot of coordinating and organizing. They think the job is all fun and games (which at times, it is), but it is also stressful at times, nerve-wracking and also very time-consuming.
Who are some women in your field that you look to for inspiration?
I don’t know how I got so lucky, but most of my closest friends are in the same field, so I really look to them for inspiration, advice, ideas, opinions, assistance. They’ve taught me a lot over these last few years and I’m super grateful for their friendship, as well.
Career and/or life advice for other babes (both inside and outside of your industry?)
Put yourself out there. If you’re afraid to try something new, just go for it. If you’re quick on your feet, jump to new opportunities. If you need some time to plan and figure things out, slow it down. Whatever you want to do, I suggest you go for it.
Connect with Hana:
This interview has been condensed and edited.