When you become a branding expert, you understand that all parts of the brand need to work together to present a cohesive look and feel.
It’s what Erin Winters works on – and helps others master – every day.
Winters, known online as Erin on Demand, has built a successful business through video, sharing her business story and helping others do the same.
She graduated from college with a degree in broadcast journalism in 2016, but realized it just wasn’t the path for her.
“By my senior year, I knew I could not do traditional news,” she said. “But content marketing was starting to gain traction.”
She began her career as a spokesperson at a bank, creating blogs, videos and social posts targeted at millennials. It was a job she held for a year until a major opportunity presented itself.
In 2017, National Geographic was hiring its first-ever digital correspondent, ultimately hiring the role through a national competition with over 600 applicants.
“I took a chance on myself, and I ended up making the top 3,” Winters said. “So I went to New York and competed in person, and I ended up winning!”
Erin’s Future in Storytelling
The experience opened her eyes to the types of roles organizations were wanting in content and storytelling. So when the National Geographic contract ended, she started thinking about what was next.
“I started applying for jobs, and I wasn’t landing anything,” she said. “So I moved back home with my parents, and really it was my mom who said, ‘Erin, you just need to start your own business.’ She saw it well before I was confident in the fact that I could do it.”
Winters traveled around to small businesses and started pitching content to them.
“I’d ask ‘Can I do a short video story on you? You have a great story but you’re not sharing it with your audience. I want to help you do that,’” she said. “I really wanted to help businesses reach a different demographic than what they were currently reaching.”
She advertised her work as “so-mercials” – social media commercials. But after a while of creating content for others, she realized she wanted to be the one on camera, generating her own content.
That’s when Erin on Demand was born.
“I ended up starting the YouTube channel because I was searching for people who were kind of in the same phase as me: young, trying to start their business or in the process of it,” she said.
“And I couldn’t find it. And I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to fill in that gap, and I’m going to share as I’m building my business on YouTube.’ So that’s what I did, and it just took off.”
Today, she has over 300,000 YouTube subscribers.
Beginning a Relationship with BoxUp
In March 2021, Winters launched her Creator to CEO course.
“I wanted to have something more comprehensive,” she said. “I designed the Creator to CEO course for content creators, small business owners and influencers who want to take their content and turn it into a business. It’s similar to what I did, showing them the steps that I took from being a content creator and turning it into a high-earning business.”
When Winters launched the course, she wanted her community to receive something in hand. This ended up being her Biz Boxes, filled with what she calls her “entrepreneur essentials.”
“As we were thinking about this course, we began to think about giving the attendees something,” she said. “We reached out to BoxUp, and they were just so excited and so down for whatever I wanted to do. It just made working with them so easy.”
Course attendees have loved the boxes, Winters said.
“We stuffed them with some of my favorite entrepreneur essentials from other small businesses out there,” she said. “I wanted to give other small businesses a chance to shine, too, and share that with some of my course attendees. It’s been really cool to see their reactions.”
Her Biz Boxes include:
- A pen from Ubrand: “It is literally the only pen I will write with. I am such a pen snob.”
- Body butter: “My hands get so ashy from typing and all the work I do.”
- Productivity journal: “We have these notepads, condensed versions of my Top 3 Journal.”
- A mug, with the Creator logo on it.
- Small things to help customers get through the course, like tea bags and mints.
Her Top 3 Journal, which can be purchased separately, has been a hit with her community. It was her YouTube subscribers who convinced her that this was an item she could provide them with.
“I have always been a procrastinator, and I will literally wait until the very last minute to get things done,” she said. “I had to figure out how I could manage my time better. And I tried everything – paper planners, digital planners, time blocking, I tried it all.”
One day, she bought a whiteboard and just wrote down only three things she wanted to accomplish that day.
“I had shown it in my vlogs,” Winters said. “So every vlog, I was showing me, writing this top 3, and then I would go and execute what was on the list. Then at the end of the vlog, I would check off the things I had done. And so many people started doing it. They started going out and buying the whiteboard I had. It was just crazy to see: I was sharing all of these tips and things I was doing, but that was the thing that stuck.”
She found others who, like herself, had been trying to get too many things done in a day only to feel bad when they could only accomplish a handful of them.
“So I tried to flip the psychology of that,” she said. “Get the top 3 things that you want to get done, done – make sure they’re actually a priority – and then move on to additional tasks that would be nice to get done that day.”
The popularity of her journal convinced her that it should definitely be part of the Biz Box, which she worked with BoxUp to develop.
“We started with BoxUp in August 2021,” Winters said. “We started talking and meeting about it. And then they sent out some box samples for us, so we could see the different sizes. We were starting to get some of the products we wanted to feature in the boxes, so I was able to see how comfortably things fit in there. I was in correspondence with them, and they were just so easy.”
So easy, in fact, that when she explained to the BoxUp team what she wanted and what her course would provide people, they told her, “Whatever you need!”
Getting samples was important to Winters.
“The biggest thing is the quality,” she said. “I was very adamant about getting samples before we moved forward. … I knew what I wanted, so if I wasn’t able to do that, then it wouldn’t have worked.”
She encourages other business owners to get samples, as well.
“Definitely get samples,” she said. “In the design process, it can get tricky. You’ve got to make sure everything is perfectly in the right spot. We got a sample of our box once it was designed, and we actually ended up changing some things once we got a sample of our design. So I would say get samples – I would rather be safe than print 500 boxes and they’re not exactly what I want.”
She’s confident that she has a good partner in BoxUp.
“BoxUp does a really good job of making sure that it’s in the right format,” she said. “I love the boxes. They look so amazing. Even though they can get mangled up in the mail, they still arrive in top condition.”
And BoxUp’s customer service has made the difference for Winters.
“I really appreciate how they took on my vision and wanted to make sure that this was as perfect as possible,” she said.
Because of the solid relationship, Winters spreads the word about BoxUp.
“We did give our course attendees a discount code with BoxUp,” she said. “A lot of them asked who did the boxes, so we actually put the BoxUp logo on our boxes.”
It’s another way Winters looks out for fellow small businesses.
“We work with a lot of entrepreneurs and creators who are always looking to step up their branding, and I think working with BoxUp is the perfect way to do that,” she said.