I'm a former Broadway actress who makes over $8,000 a month running a digital marketing company. Here's how I set my prices and find new clients.
- Rachel Schur Chase, 33, is a
Broadwayactress and the founder of Schur Thing Media.
- When Broadway shut down in March due to the pandemic, Schur Chase began to expand her social media management side hustle into a full-time
- She helps brick-and-mortar retailers launch online shops, mentors fellow stage actors who want to build an online presence, and manages clients' social media accounts and analytics.
- Schur Chase offers a variety of packages that range in price from $1,000 for basic services to $3,500 for all-inclusive social media management.
- Here's what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Gia Miller.
For almost two years, I starred in the Broadway show Chicago, playing Annie and serving as the understudy for Roxie Hart. Then, the pandemic hit. It was always a dream of mine to be on Broadway, but I'm also a very practical person and knew it was important to have other streams of income. So for the past four years, even while I was performing nightly on Broadway, I would help one or two small companies with their social media during the day.
When Broadway shut down on March 13, my husband Ben and I booked flights to Florida for the next day. We stayed with my parents in my hometown of Melbourne and I began taking on more social media clients. Before I knew it, I'd tripled my client list. The majority of my clients are by word of mouth, either friends of friends or friends of clients. I also offer one-on-one coaching and bi-monthly webinars - these clients typically come from Instagram or Facebook.
I wasn't planning on creating a company, I didn't have a launch date or even a name. But about a month later, I looked at my husband, who builds websites and e-commerce platforms for my clients, and said, 'We need to incorporate.' He agreed. We named the business Schur Thing Media and developed a website.
My first clients were from family connections, and word quickly spread through personal references.
About five years ago, when I first began this business on the side, I was working for a fitness company. They needed someone to run their Instagram and social media accounts, so I took several courses and earned a Facebook advertising certification. I've continued to educate myself and recently received a certification in
Some of my initial clients were interior designers who were referred to me through my mother-in-law. She was the editor-in-chief of a luxury digital publication in Palm Beach until recently, so she shared my new business with several designers she knew.
My digital marketing company practically grew overnight, with clients like Season X winner of Project Runway Dmitry Sholokhov, a fitness studio, a dance fitness company, the nonprofit Kids' Dreams, Inc., and even an endoscopic weight loss center. I also work with a lot of interior designers like MG Design Lab and David Mitchell Brown.
Recently, we've partnered with a production company to shoot commercials for some of our clients. We're shooting a commercial in a few weeks with a budget between $20,000 and $30,000.
When everything shut down, we helped small businesses move online.
A lot of brick-and-mortar stores were very concerned when the pandemic began - customers weren't shopping in their store, and they didn't have products available online. My husband and I were quickly hired to build e-commerce sites for several retail stores. While he developed the sites, I integrated their social media so they could also offer one-touch shopping from those accounts to help keep their businesses alive.
I also provide one-on-one mentoring for numerous Broadway actors and actresses to help them pivot during this time, such as growing a social media presence or starting their own fitness companies.
For actors who want to remain in the industry, I help them step outside their comfort zone. I tell them to get creative and develop a unique online series that showcases their passions and talents. I teach them how to use the apps and edit videos using a variety of creative tools. Whether they're creating a funny series on TikTok or building Instagram reels, I'm teaching them how to create a genuine online presence, market themselves, and monetize these apps.
In just a few short months, we went from $3,000 to almost $10,000 a month.
My business fluctuates between eight and 13 clients each month, depending on who needs what. Plus, I also offer social media webinars and workshops. My monthly income is similar to what I earned on Broadway.
We offer a variety of packages for our clients on Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and more. The basic package for $1,000 is Instagram account management, which includes a redesign of their existing grid and bio, new content, creation of daily stories, and community engagement to increase followers. Another package is a one-time website design package to retool a landing page or create an entirely new website, which costs between $1,500 and $2,500.
We also recently began offering a full-service package where we act as the branding manager and creative director, provide social media management for all platforms, purchase Facebook or Google ads monthly, a one-time redesign or retool of their website so the sales funnel works perfectly, run the analytics to ensure ROI, and provide video creation insights. This package is $3,500.
Every client, regardless of their package, receives weekly growth updates that include the week's impressions, unique reach, best performing posts, and audience breakdown. We also highlight when new followers include bio keywords that our clients want like "art collector," "travel lover," or "house flipper."
I really enjoy this work, and I'm not sure what will happen when Broadway reopens.
As of now, they're refunding tickets until May 30, 2021, but who knows. I don't think anyone's guaranteed their old jobs. So much is up in the air, and I think it would be naive for any actor to think otherwise. But I do hope we can all come back and finish what we started - it'll be even more exciting.
I got a glimpse of my old life in November when we filmed a performance of Chicago as part of a two-hour special on NBC with Tina Fey to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The whole cast came together, but first, we all had to quarantine and test for COVID-19. It was so much fun and a nice little spark of hope for us. When it was over, I looked around Eighth Avenue and was brought back to the reality that Broadway isn't my full-time job anymore, and now I'm on this social media journey. It was such a bizarre identity crisis.
I'm not sure where my business will go, if I'll maintain this work during the day and then leave for the theater in the evening - that's a lot of work. And, at some point, we do want to start a family. Broadway shows are really, really hard for anyone, let alone when you're a mom. There's a lot to take into consideration, but I'm thankful for this opportunity to earn a living during the pandemic. I really love working with my clients and helping small businesses grow.
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