What is the definition of being successful? Is it making more money than you know what to do with? Is it having letters after your name that people aren’t even sure what they mean? Or is it simply being happy? When Mike and I decided to enter the wine business, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road. We were realistic. We understood that we would neither be an overnight sensation, nor ever be as recognized as Robert Mondavi. That’s not why we entered the business. We entered the wine industry because we love wine and it was our dream to own a winery. We chose to not just wish or dream about it, we made a conscious decision to make it happen. We chose to Pursue Our Passion.
It’s a scary thing chasing down your dreams, but if you don’t enter the race you are never going to win. One of my favorite sayings about Pursuing Your Passion was made by “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. He very eloquently stated, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” He knows you need to take risks. You need to leave the safety net that tethers you to your comfort zone so that you can experience what happens next.
In this, what has become a monthly tradition, a guest blogger will tell you their story of how they pursued their passion in the wine industry. These people understood what Van Gogh meant by “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
This month I am honored to be able to share the story of Amy Lieberfarb. Dracaena Wines currently has almost 13,000 followers. A number that honestly blows my mind. But Amy was one of our first followers. She clicked that follow button before we even had a wine to sell. And she has been a supporter of us every day since.
Although I haven’t had the privilege of meeting Amy in real life [YET- that is going to change this summer!] I feel as if I know her. I do know that we are going to get along splendidly when we finally do meet! Just her quote of “Well behaved women rarely make history” is one of my favorites. You can’t make a mark in this world by sitting back and letting life pass you by. You need to be right in the middle of it!
If you are unfamiliar with #Sonomachat, you need to remedy that right now- well tonight! Every Wednesday night at 9pm EST/6pm PST, Amy hosts an hour-long chat that focuses all on Sonoma. I participate as often as I can and always enjoy the fast paced hour. I give Amy so much credit. I know what it takes to set up a live event. I do it once a year for #CabFrancDay. I honestly am in awe that she does it weekly! I also must admit, that when I finally get to Paso 100% of the time, I would love to “steal” her idea and use the concept to promote Paso. (of course thanks to the web, that may be able to be started before I’m there permanently)
Her story is truly one of passion. I hope you enjoy (I know you will) and then join in the #Sonomachat conversation tonight!
Pursuing A Passion For Sonoma Wine
I started along this new career path and a little over 3 years later have reached my goal and found success. It is all about playing your long game and never changing your goals themselves but simply changing up your ‘action steps’ towards that goal when necessary to make sure to achieve it.
I think the first part of the struggle is figuring out how you really enjoy spending your time. What is it YOU desire when it comes to daily life? Examining one’s lifestyle can lead to all sorts of fun ideas and with someone like myself, it can usually lead to a glass of wine (or two). If it is bubbles, it may be three. Just sayin’.
Can one turn a hobby or daily life into a profitable passion?
If you know what your goals are when you set out to make a change, then, achieving that purpose will only play to your personal strengths. I wanted to enjoy work without it seeming like a ‘job’. If you didn’t have to work… How would you spend your time?
In Sonoma County, when I went looking for a career in wine that I could fall in love with, I didn’t have to look far. Wine is a way of life in this award winning winery region of Northern California.
Before this time, you could say I was on the ‘consumer’ side of things. You could also say… I like to consume wine. I had lived in Sonoma County for over 13 years so working in wine was a natural progression as it was already quite a hobby.
I was attending local wine events, I consumed local wine and I had many friends in the local industry. Time to take advantage of all that wine drinking and socializing I had been engaged in since living in Sonoma, and apply it to my job path.
Making a career change can seem a daunting task, especially when one is starting from scratch and has decided to transition in employment, things may feel downright challenging. The world of wine is no exception. There is soooo much to learn to work in the world of fermented grapes.
Play the long game. Not the short.
Always keeping that in mind, I went about tackling the wine industry both online and locally in Sonoma County, California. What is the key to my success, other than hard work and time….?!?
Key: If you get VERY good at knowing everything there is to know about your future career and get to know the people who are dedicated to the industry… you will make money at it.
I quickly found that there was more to it than simply ‘fermenting grapes’ early on. It was then that I knew that learning a little bit of everything would prove more beneficial long-term, but also would help in finding the right niche to specialize in.
That niche was Sonoma County itself. And #SonomaChat was born.
Take a risk. But before you do, make sure that you can see yourself staying there for a long time and growing your career. Once you have made your decision, take that brave leap of faith… with a big pour in the glass! I had found a career that both suits my personality and pairs perfectly with my lifestyle.
How important is the money? As a web designer I could charge upwards of 275 an hour and was well aware that these rate were not in the realm of possibilities for the wine industry as a newbie. Sacrifices in income would have to be made initially. But also have found that sometimes… it is important to make your mark and discover what you really want to do with your life. The money will follow soon enough and is worth the patience necessary to reach that end goal.
Knowing that there are tons of other people on social media who are trying to do the same and grow their own following and audience of wine lovers, it became clear to me that creating truly original content was the only way for me to make it to the top quickly.
Being original and creating new concepts that were original in every sense of the word was important to me and to my business strategy. So were an air of mysteriousness combined with regular wine shenanigans about town. Keep it fun and keep it real. Sip On This Juice because…
Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.
I run a weekly program LIVE each week on twitter, sometimes at the sacrifice of my own sanity. Organizing, creating and providing content for and managing a live event each week is no simple task. Being comfortable with Sonoma County wine, both the industry and the people was essential to knowing which messages we wanted to emphasize on the show.
Knowing who the people of Sonoma’s wine industry are and where they work, while also understanding their lifestyle and behaviours, allows provides a more tailored experience that appeals to the #SonomaChat audience in the right way.
Each week #SonomaChat is averaging between 220 and 350 contributors, with an average of 2.5 million impressions and a reach of over 1 million each Wednesday night. Anyone can join in the conversation. Every Wednesday night on twitter LIVE from 6-7pm PST.
We live in a world of internet connectivity where starting a conversation can be crucial to a deeper engagement level and building a personal relationship with the wine consumer.
I also work with local winery clients and offer services including a social media audit, or a thorough analysis and deep understanding of their personal digital footprint including social media communication management, content guidance and success measurement framework. Teaching my clients how to build a personal wine branding strategy that helps them and their business grow, maintaining good social media practices and keeping many steps ahead of the competition…. is what I do best.
As a former owner of a successful web design business, my approach to marketing, involves an understanding of online algorithms that others do not have due to my background in computer coding. Being able to apply this knowledge to further my clients marketing initiatives quicker and more efficiently than other public relations or marketing firms is what I do.
I enjoy teaching a business, step by step, how to target their exact demographics on social media and how to apply guerilla marketing tactics and SEO basics to the world of social media creating instant brand recognition for wineries.
Living in Sonoma County with my two wonderful teenage girls and an excitable Belgian Shepherd, (the male of the family), I like to live life out loud as much as possible in Wine Country. In between all this “life out loud”… I am a mom first and foremost. That is my lifetime career.