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Sarah Best, Sarah Best Strategy

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Sarah Best, CEO and chief strategist, Sarah Best Strategy.

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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is giving businesses the tools that they need to succeed on social media and search, no matter what constraints they are facing. I geek out about solving team workflow problems and helping people focus their efforts around a coherent vision. The most challenging aspect of my job in the fourth year of running my company is to continue to lead, evolve, and teach despite the pressures that come along with being a startup. The most fun I have is teaching other professionals about marketing topics over glasses of wine during my monthly Sip & Social series at Table Wine in Atwood.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I really admire Derek Notman of Intrepid Wealth Partners, whom I have been coaching in digital marketing for the past year. The thing that I admire about him is the integrity and work ethic he brings to his marketing efforts, which are based in giving entrepreneurs the resources they need to succeed. Not every business leader cares about doing his or her marketing well. He works so hard and it’s been so rewarding to see his efforts paying off. He does it all in a way that’s really customer focused and with a lot of joy. I’ve also learned a ton about how to work my airline miles from him as a small business owner!

What has been the high point of your career so far?

The high point of my career so far was doing my first significant business deal with (a then startup) Foursquare as one of their first content partners. It was my first time creating a win-win that paired brands with social media audiences. I leveraged my access to social media audiences in the Chicago market with any internal resources I had access to. I got creative! I wrote the copy for the badges myself, pulled in internal public relations officers, and used our in-house graphic designers to get the work done at no cost to me. We made a huge splash with our efforts, which included a badge to recreate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, received press coverage for our joint effort in TechCrunch, Mashable, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Crain’s Chicago Business, WGN, and other publications. Many of the awards I’ve won for my work were for that campaign.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Mostly I would tell myself that working three jobs and spending all of my free time reading about social media and business was worth it, even if I was pretty broke and didn’t have a lot of free time.


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