Today we’d like to introduce you to Cara Lentz.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Cara. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from the
I’m originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. I transplanted out to Tempe, Arizona to attend ASU in 2015 and have lived here ever since. I went to school and left with a Bachelors in Political Science, a minor and half a dozen certifications. I LOVED school and all the rigors and challenges of it. However, when I got closer and closer to graduation, I had this realization that there’s no glory in a grind that grinds you all the way down, and truly, that’s where I was. I was in love with my potential future attending law school and working long days and weeks and months, but then life changed. I met my person and started to let go of the things that were no longer serving me and had this aha moment of wanting to do more for me and less for the accolades or “high achiever” status. While my first post-grad job was in Human Resources, I spent all of my spare time going after something I really, really loved: social media.
While I grew up with the internet and had used various platforms since high school, I never really understood the power of it until later into college. In my aha moment of changing my life plan, I realized what I loved – creating images, experiences, sharing my heart with others- could be a career. Since that realization, I put every ounce of blood, sweat and tears, I had into making it happen. I spent days after work and lunches taking online courses from industry-leading entrepreneurs and creatives. I would spend every second of spare sunlight shooting in parking lots or our bedroom to practice and hone in on my craft. I’d jot down ideas on spare scraps of paper or in the notes of my phone until they became posts or captions late at night after dinner.
Today, I’m still figuring out this industry I now “officially” serve in, still using spare moments to learn, grow and connect.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Different aspects of my journey has been both rough and smooth and I’m thankful for both. I’d say from the get-go, realizing I wanted to pursue a career in something I didn’t have a degree in was difficult. It was still incredibly difficult selling to clients and employers that I had the skills and understanding to truly serve them. Beyond them not always seeing my knowledge or relevant experience for the role, dealing with imposter syndrome has been real. It’s taken about a solid 3 or so months of content creating and freelancing as a social media consultant to even feel legit. Even now with relationships with my idols in the content creating world, clients, and people reaching out to me for advice, I still question if I’m really a legit creative in our industry. It’s difficult but it is also incredibly humbling – it pushes me to be better and have grace with myself.
If I could give advice to other women on this journey it would be the following: it’s never too late, you are enough and to just do the damn thing. In content creating, marketing, social media – whatever industry you prefer to group myself and others into- it can seem incredibly saturated and that there is no spot for you. Here’s the thing- if there is a spot for me- there is a spot for you. YOU have something I can’t offer or anyone else can offer your audience- that magical, amazing thing is YOU. No matter when you decide to go for it, know there is never a perfect time but you should just do the damn thing- someone in this universe needs to hear your story, see your work and know who you are.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of. What sets you apart from the competition?
Currently, I am a full-time freelancer working as a social media consultant. From small womxn-owned consulting businesses to a larger local medical practice, I help individuals and businesses feel empowered in their online presence so they can reach their ideal community and customer. While I offer a vast array of services from social media audits and management to branding and content creation, my heart lies in one on one sessions focused on coaching or general social media education. There is nothing I love more in the whole wide world than seeing someone have that spark of empowerment that comes from education and inspiration.
As a young brand, it’s hard to speak to any typical level of accomplishment but for now, I’m most proud of the fact that I just went for it and did the damn thing. There were a million and one reasons not to but I did it anyways. I learned the skills, and make a point to continue. I learned how to make and design a website and launched it in less than 30 days. I started my first, budding business at 22. Now more than ever, I feel clear on the community I want to serve and grow closer with. I have built and maintained incredible relationships with other creators, brands and wonderful womxn I feel truly blessed to call a friend. We’re by no means perfect and certainly nowhere near finished with our mission, but I know in my heart of hearts who I am and my desire to serve others through education and empowerment is going to change people’s lives.
What makes me different from others is that I am me. I am the perfect fit for someone, but not everyone, and I am truly okay with that. I believe that sales is service, meaning my main goal is to serve my clients and community in the work that I do. I hope to not only help your social media and online presence become elevated but I hope to inspire and educate you to feel empowered in your voice and presence online. I hope to connect you with the tools to build meaningful and lasting relationships with community members and customers on- and offline. No matter what I do or who I serve I do so fully with purpose, intention, and urgency always, without hesitation.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I think many hold the opinion that the barriers today are quite different than they were 20, even 50 years ago. In my opinion, I’m not sure the barriers have changed much at all. While there has certainly been progress in empowering and supporting female leadership, overall progress itself for ALL womxn is quite stagnant. That being said, I think many of the barriers to female leadership, in general, remain the same: access to resources, education and a social/political climate that does not fully champion female leadership. Whether that leadership is a little girl going for it on the football team or an accomplished professional making their way up the ranks, there remains a hesitation – a brief but loud pause of consideration. It is in these brief, yet loud pauses and hesitations women remain- held back by ancient yet persistent expectations, oppressions and barriers.
Speaking more particularly to my industry, I would say barriers are most seen in terms of expectations. While womxn creators are incredibly liberated in our own small sectors of the community, womxn creators are not showcased in their own artistic rites. In terms of influencer-creators, I strongly feel the general consensus remains that they are shiny objects that help sell products and services, not deeply thoughtful, intelligent and intentional people who put their heart and soul into their planning, executing, copy, photography and more. I see this most in the comment sections of creators posts. Similarly, comment sections tend to hold great examples of other permeating barriers creatives and truthfully all womxn still face: patriarchal ideas, euro-centric beauty standards, and body shaming.
- Social Media Management – Starting $25/hour
- Copywriting – Starting $28/hour
- Social Media Coaching- $30/hour
- Social Media Audit & Analytics – $35/hours
- Website: www.acaracollective.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @acaracollective or @caracollectiveco
Cara Lentz- A Cara Collective