Why a leader needs to “soak in the moment”, With Lindsey Barber, of SocialCents Media

Akemi Sue Fisher
Feb 7 · 6 min read

The best advice I’ve received along the way is to be present; to soak in the moment. Whether in life or in business. By making sure to remain present, I allow myself to learn from my experiences, my clients and from others along the way. At each speaking engagement, I am sure to talk my audience instead of them; and at each client meeting, I am sure to listen intently versus coming in with an agenda. I truly believe this has attributed to my growth, both personally and within the agency.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsey Barber, owner of SocialCents Media. Lindsey Barber is an award-winning digital and social media strategist with a fresh point of view on how companies can breakthrough the noise of social media and win in today’s market. As the CEO of SocialCents Media, Lindsey is helping brands of all industries monetize the social space, by utilizing traditional marketing methods and brand power. A frequent keynote speaker on the power of social and digital media, Lindsey was named a 2018 Mover and Shaker by Cary Magazine.


Thank you so much for joining us! What’s your backstory?

By the time I’d turned 22, I had — what I thought at the time — was the career of my dreams.

It was a too-good-to-be-true type of career. I was so proud to call it my own that at times I felt like I had to pinch myself to come back down to reality. No one expects a fresh out of college, youthful millennial to have climbed the corporate ladder so quickly, but two years after my college graduation, that’s exactly what I’d done. I had secured a seat at the decision-making table, and across from me sat CEOs and executive teams from some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including PepsiCo, Starbucks, Red Bull, Coca Cola, Nestle and the NFL Network.

At the time, my sole focus was on building my career within the confines of a corporate setting, but those plans changed after the company went through a merger. With its local office closing I was given the offer to relocate to the company’s Ohio office and maintain my leadership position, but my answer was a quick and confident no. As much as I loved the company and the job, I knew that uprooting my life to follow a job alone was a shift I wasn’t willing to make. But that realization also reminded me of the magnitude of what I’d achieved over the last four years. The quiet voice inside my head began to grow louder; the louder it got the more I realized that I could bring my talents and digital marketing strategies to businesses on my own terms. With that, SocialCents Media was born.

Why did you found your company? Marketing can get a bad wrap at times, but I had seen marketing done right, and I knew it had the potential to not just build awareness but to also build revenue. By choosing to not relocate with my former company, I knew my only option was to go out on my own and provide businesses with tangible digital marketing results that pulled in more customers and profits. When I opened SocialCents Media in 2014 it was on the belief that companies can change the trajectory of their business and reach new heights through digital branding and storytelling. That belief is what the company still runs on today as we look for new ways to differentiate our clients from the noisy world of marketing.

What is it about your work that’s disruptive?

When I left my corporate job behind I knew that I could deliver successful digital marketing strategies that would convert, but at the time, I had only one client on retainer. That meant my self-employment salary was just 15 percent of what I had previously been making when I decided to make the jump. It was a stark change from my previous leadership position, benefits package, company car and private jetting. Yet, instead of triggering my fears, it lit a fire in me to chase after my dreams. One year after opening SocialCents Media, I’d replaced my corporate salary, and today — just four years later — I’ve grown SocialCents Media’s revenue six times my former corporate paycheck.

Today, SocialCents Media is much more than the one-woman-band it started out with in 2014. The company now has a deep bench of talent at the table, including public relations consultants, web designers, graphic artists and SEO analysts, who strategize, build and manage multiple, multi-million dollar social and digital brand presences. The company continues to experience unprecedented growth because of our ability to find new, innovative ways to monetize the social space. The interesting factor — given the space we play in — is that the SocialCents Media brand has never once put any money into advertising for ourselves. Since its inception, SocialCents Media has grown strictly through word of mouth and through the successes of our clients.

Who would you say has been your mentor(s) along the way?

I have had many mentors along the way — my former boss who allowed me to grow and flourish within my role and offered me a seat at the table; each of my clients who run businesses and challenge my team daily to grow and be better; and my parents who afforded me the opportunity to grow up in a household that valued hard work, respect for others and self-confidence. Each have contributed to the leader I’ve become today.

What books, podcasts, etc. have had a deep impact on your way of thinking?

Two books that have left a lasting impact on my personal and business growth are: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. Both books have led me to think differently about change, that dependence on others’ opinions restricts personal growth and to sit at the table instead of spectating from the side — even if that means seating yourself.

Is there someone who inspires you that you’d want to have a breakfast or lunch with and why?

I’m sure it sounds cliché, but I gain my inspiration from everyone and anyone — good, bad or indifferent. I am a firm believer that I learn something new every single day. Each person I meet has a story to tell, a road traveled that I can learn from and an opinion that I can listen to. Those individual stories and journeys are what inspire me to look at the world differently.

How are you going to shake things up next?

Different from traditional agencies, at SocialCents Media, we are building a service that marries digital marketing with community outreach and existing traditional marketing elements for a holistic approach to creative branding. It’s a true shift in the way marketers think. Instead of segmenting traditional public relations and grassroots, media outreach from digital marketing and from in-office marketing, we’re packaging these services so that our marketing efforts are comprehensive and streamlined. For our client’s, it means a stronger, more efficient ROI (return on their investment) and strategic positioning across channels.

In 2019, we’ll put these strategies and client case studies into the form of e-books so that internal marketing teams across the country can structure their marketing strategies similarly. By popular demand, we’re also developing a subscriber method where agency subscribers can access new case studies, social media strategies, social media how-tos, creative branding pieces, etc. It’ll be like having SocialCents Media, and our partners, in your back pocket!

Can you share the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Give us the story or example that goes along with the advice.

The best advice I’ve received along the way is to be present; to soak in the moment. Whether in life or in business. By making sure to remain present, I allow myself to learn from my experiences, my clients and from others along the way. At each speaking engagement, I am sure to talk with my audience instead of at them; and at each client meeting, I am sure to listen intently versus coming in with an agenda. I truly believe this has attributed to my growth, both personally and within the agency.

How can readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: @lindseyhbarber

Facebook: /socialcentsmedia

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Akemi Sue Fisher

Written by

The "Amazon Queen", Amazon millionaire, Akemi Sue Fisher, has helped thousands of Amazon sellers collectively earn over $1 Billion in sales. LoveandLaunch.com

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.