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How to start a social media business?

Meet Natalie Zfat, social media influencer and business owner since 2011. She describes her start in the fast-paced industry, and shares advice for new entrepreneurs.

Natalie Zfat - Social Media influencer & Business owner

Natalie Zfat is a social media expert who has partnered with some of the world’s most iconic brands, including Meta, Samsung, American Express, and Adobe. Her belief is that social media is more about psychology than technology.

Natalie regularly shares her thought leadership in her Forbes column, at conferences and universities, and on television, including SXSW, CES, Carnegie Mellon, NYU Stern School of Business, and CNBC. She recently earned her higher education teaching certificate from Harvard.

When she’s not on the internet, you can find Natalie out and about with a laptop, diaper bag, and strong black coffee in hand.

Why did you choose to become a business owner?

I grew up with parents who are entrepreneurs, and I always loved the flexibility and pride it afforded them.
My favorite thing about entrepreneurship is the autonomy it has provided me, whether in my personal life, spending a random Friday morning doing something special with my son, or in my professional life, giving myself a raise when I feel I’ve earned one.

“My favorite thing about entrepreneurship is the autonomy it has provided me.”

How did you start your business?

I feel fortunate that in the first year of starting my social media business, I had a healthy demand of small, medium, and large businesses interested in my services. I had developed a Rolodex of contacts at my former writing job who heard I was offering social media and blogging services, and they began to reach out. Social media was quickly becoming a major investment for companies, and hiring managers were hungry for talent who could fulfill this new priority.
I often say that given the demand, it would have been riskier to take a full-time job rather than start my business.

Natalie Zfat - social media expert

What steps were most important at the beginning?

Having a trusted mentor and hiring reliable talent were the two most crucial components of starting my business. But hiring talent – and delegating – was new to me. I waited over a year before hiring my first employee, concerned that no one would be able to understand the nuances of my business and commit to my clients’ needs the way I did (Spoiler: Nicole, now our Creative Director, just celebrated 10 years at our shop).

What do you wish you’d known before starting a business?

Being a writer has always been somewhat natural to me, but the accounting part of the business has been much more of a learning curve. Learning the financials is essential to quantifying whether or not your business is viable, and had I learned these tools earlier, it would have helped tremendously.

“Learning the financials is essential to quantifying whether or not your business is viable.”

What advice would you give to your past self?

Be more afraid to say “yes” than “no”. When starting my business, I was so focused on making it viable and profitable that I didn’t have a great vetting process for who our clients should (or shouldn’t) be. As a result, we ended up with clients with unaligned expectations and a lack of understanding of the commitment to the content creation process. Lesson learned: An early “no” may feel like you’re turning down revenue or opportunity, but it could end up saving you more in the long run.


Natalie Zfat is a social media expert, providing social media services since 2011.

*The purpose of this page is solely to provide information and should not be considered as financial advice
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice; you should consult a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.