Jennifer Spivak is unapologetic about the fact that she wants to help women get rich. After studying public relations at City College in New York City, an internship opportunity eventually led to a role as a partner at a digital marketing agency. Four years later, she decided to take the leap and launch her own agency, specializing in Facebook Ads.
While Spivak had always flexed her entrepreneurial muscle as a partner at the agency, the calling to start her own namesake company and lean into her greatest strength – Facebook Advertising and conversion – became stronger than the stability of a steady paycheck. Spivak knew her calling was to help other women earn money and became fueled by her mission of female financial empowerment.
Learn more about Spivak’s Facebook Ads philosophies, how they can help business owners grow their revenue, and how surviving an abusive relationship helped her find her freedom – and secure her finances at the same time.
Karin Eldor: When did you decide to take the leap as an entrepreneur, while working at your first job right out of college?
Jennifer Spivak: As the agency grew and grew, and as we brought up more partners and more people, I looked around one day and thought to myself, this has become a complete boys’ club and I’m not happy here anymore.
We had built the agency from the ground up, so I was potentially walking away from a lot of money, but I had to get out of there. I was among the first in and helped build this company, and I thought to myself, either I can stay here and keep fighting to have my voice heard, or I can go out and build something that looks exactly the way I want it to look. So at the end of 2014, I left to start my own agency.
Eldor: By the same token, how did you decide Facebook Ads was your expertise and your calling? First of all, I love the concept of honing in on a niche, instead of being “all things to all people.” How did you pinpoint that this was your expertise?
Spivak: It did kind of happen while helping to grow this other agency, because I was with the first company from 2010 to 2014, which were “the come up years” of social media.
Having done all these other different marketing modalities throughout the last 10 years, Facebook Ads yield the best tangible, bottom line results. I love marketing, but I’m in the game to help women make money — that’s what this is really about and this is the most direct path to that, as far as I’m concerned.
Eldor: And it’s so measurable, of course…
Spivak: Yes! And that’s what makes it so easy to sell. It’s not like I’m saying, “We’re going to create this content for you and grow your social media following.” I have data that shows that if you spend “X” I can make you “Y.”
Eldor: When did you decide that your main target audience would be women?
Spivak: That’s usually who we attract. I believe that my purpose on this planet is to empower women financially. That connects to the money we donate to the organization FreeFrom, that connects to the fact that I only hire women, that connects to the fact that we work with women clients. It’s the north star of everything. I absolutely publicly use that in all of my marketing.
Eldor: I love what you’re doing for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, by donating 10% of all profits to FreeFrom.
Spivak: Basically, I was in a very abusive relationship – physical abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse. There’s a power and control wheel, and all the boxes were checked off. A little over eight years ago, that’s when I left the relationship and was very fortunate to be able to escape — this man went to prison. For all intents and purposes, I ended up getting out in a very safe way.
One of the things that I learned in the years after and while working with other organizations and with other survivors, is that the fact that I had access to finances was a huge reason why getting out of that relationship – even though it was terrible – was much easier and more seamless for me than it is for so many other women. One really big problem that’s not often discussed around the topic of domestic violence is financial abuse, and that one of the ways that abusers control their victims is by controlling their access to finances. I had access to finances, I had access to amazing organizations that supported me, and in one fell swoop, my abuser was in prison and I was in a new apartment. I ended up by chance finding this organization called FreeFrom and it couldn’t have been more perfect because they specifically address the financial abuse act of domestic violence. This is the work that FreeFrom does and there couldn’t be anything more aligned for me. We started a partnership with them probably about two years ago, where we donate about 3% of our annual profit to them and specifically for National Domestic Violence Month, which is in October, we donate 10% of any revenue that we generate this month to FreeFrom.
Eldor: You have a mentality of “abundance,” which I love about you. How do you operate with an abundance versus a lack, or fear-based mentality? You detach the shame of saying that you want money and I think we all need to do that.
Spivak: On a very serious, deep level, women having shame around money and not generating their own money puts more women in a situation where they’re more at risk of being trapped in an abusive relationship. This sounds dramatic, but we know that one in four to one in three women will be in an abusive relationship. So that’s the real, practical, somewhat traumatic, but truthful side of it and then the other side of it is – men are not uncomfortable talking about money. This is an area where we can all individually step up and start changing the conversation. People tell me all the time that because I’m out on Facebook doing fancy stuff and flying first class and spending money and talking about it so openly, it shows them that it’s possible for them too. So from that place, I’m never going to stop – ever.
Money literally represents freedom – and freedom is the guiding principle of my life.
Eldor: What are your main tips to empower people to consider Facebook Ads? What do you think all business owners should know?
Spivak: Two things:
1- I wish people would stop being weird about Facebook Ads! By this, I mean people have created this idea that Facebook Ads are this superior, separate thing from everything else related to your business and marketing. But the general rules apply. So if you have an offer that nobody wants, Facebook Ads won’t fix anything. If you’re not clear on what your messaging is or exactly who you’re speaking to, Facebook Ads aren’t going to fix anything. So stop seeing it as this separate thing that’s a silver bullet. That’s where you end up with people walking around saying, ‘Facebook Ads don’t work, I invested all this money and got nothing out of it’ – because nine out of 10 times, they weren’t applying very basic marketing 101 principles and really honing in on the offer, messaging and funnel, and all of that stuff because a Facebook ad by itself doesn’t do anything. It only works when it’s plugged into a system that works perfectly.
2- Facebook ads don’t work well when you are using them to recreate the wheel or set up some really new complex funnel. They work best when they can actually be fuel to the fire, on top of something that you already know works. So people that are best positioned to make a lot of money with ads already have a funnel that they know works, or a webinar they know converts, or a product they know people buy, and organically they’re already doing pretty well.
All that we have to do is look at the natural customer decision journey that people are going through and honor that through targeted ads that send more people through that process.
You know, all these things that I’m saying — targeting, copy, funnel – we’re probably still going to play around with these and test when you do start ads, but when you have no foundation for what already works naturally, you’re basically putting garbage on top of garbage. It works when you have a really solid foundation, a solid business, you’re already doing some level of consistency with your revenue, you know who buys your product, you know what people like, you know what keeps them up at night, you know your website converts, and then we turn on the faucet with Facebook ads – those are the businesses that go to six and seven figures with ads.
Eldor: Are there any milestones or upcoming projects you’d like to share?
Spivak: November 15 of this year marks five years since I started the business on my own. We’ve done pretty good! And now I have a whole team of people – five women, including me. All women team, always will be. And we work with all these clients, and it’s pretty amazing, so we’re definitely going to be celebrating that.