Leslie Haas, a fifth-generation upstate native, accidentally revolutionized the world of social media management in the upstate of South Carolina after quitting her 9-5 in the healthcare industry. An interview with Haas gave us insight into how this small town marketer grew her career into a booming social media management agency with nothing but her eye for industry and southern drawl.
Haas’s roots are not exactly new on the social scene in the upstate [Greenville, SC area]. “My great great grandfather William Hamilton Delk was a doctor [in Greenville]. His first cousin lived here as well and was the first superintendent of education in Greenville,” says Haas on her familial roots. When asked about what keeps her in the Upstate, Haas divulged she just couldn’t stay away. “I decided to start my own business because I knew that if I didn’t, I would be leaving money here in Greenville. As my career evolved, it only makes sense to stay here and I absolutely love it. There is so much opportunity in Greenville, and it’s a lot more recession-proof than other areas due to the insulated local economy,” she says.
A trip to Indianapolis started Haas’s modeling career by chance. “As a teenager, I was at a mall in Indianapolis when I was scouted… This piqued my interest in the industry. I started out my modeling career by doing a lot of local gigs while I was bartending downtown. I had no idea that my teenaged modeling career would take off again in my thirties,” said Haas. Her portfolio expands anywhere from walking for Carmen Marc Valvo to taking print shots for Hincapie Sportswear. Modeling career in full swing, Haas graduated from college in 2008, in the wake of the infamous recession. Armed with a dental hygiene degree from Greenville Tech, Haas joined a facial surgery team filling roles such as marketing executive, operation prep, and post-operation duties as well.
When asked to speak on her influencing career, Haas had this to say: “It was a complete accident. From my days in the marketing world, social media was always a strength. I decided to quit my job without having any sort of a backup plan, and didn’t even know I was starting an agency. In 8 years I worked in 3 different plastic surgery practices running their marketing and business development, and just got kind of burned out on it. I cut 6 inches off my hair, quit my job, the whole 9 yards. About a year and a half ago, I was at lunch with a friend who also worked in marketing. She advised me to look at my social media statistics, and surveyed randomly my followers asking why and how they found me. The general consensus was that people were following me for advice, positivity, and a behind-the-scenes look into Greenville social affairs that they wouldn’t otherwise learn about. I figured if this is working, then let’s keep it going.” Due to the success of her accidental influencing career, Haas started freelancing for local business and within 3-weeks had enough clients to start her own LLC. She does have a word of warning for any prospective entrepreneurs out there: “I do really recommend having a business plan, doing it the proper way, and saving for it rather than just quitting your job and cutting your hair off, but it’s worked out.”
Haas didn’t have to do much when it came to branding herself. “I already had an altruistic reputation from doing a lot of charity work. I feel convicted to do a lot with charities and non-profits because I know that I have opportunities and privileges that others may not. I know I can get a lot done through capability, connections and experience, and feel the responsibility to do so because after being raised by a single mother with special needs siblings, and feel the need to give back to the community that gave so much to me,” she explained. Her family is a recurring theme for Haas as they also play a big role in what inspires her and keeps her motivated. “My mom and siblings inspired me to do what I do, and our circumstances give me the drive that I have today. Mom had me at 20 years old and the twins at 22 years old. My parents divorced when I was very young, so mom was 22 years old, single, had 3 toddlers with very different needs, so anytime I think I’m not capable, I remind myself that somehow my mom was 12 years younger than I am now and provided for 3 kids all on her own,” she confides.
So what is Leslie up to now? A word to describe her daily routine would be “hectic.” “I joke that I work 2nd shift. I typically wake up between 6 and 7 and get some things done around the house, and then make sure I always schedule in my workout. I may not start working until 10 am but I might also be on the computer until 10 at night. Also, when I have interns, I try to spend a couple of hours per week in person with them,” she says. Looking through a wider scope, she gave us this insight into the future of Leslie Haas Social: “The grand master plan that I have been working on: I am building a giant 5-6 week instagram course for small business owners. I was doing the monthly Instagram 101 workshop as a way to find out what people want to know and to get used to teaching online,” Haas divulged. Since then, she has launched a lucrative public speaking career detailing social media strategy.
Haas has a lot to show for her efforts, including instagram growth for one of her favorite clients. “So, one of my best friends, is currently re-establishing himself as a real estate agent in the upstate. He’s getting a lot of rebranding done and took my course in order to take the stress out of social media for him. He has been able to plan out his content, and within two weeks had 100 new followers,” she gushes.
Leslie Haas has had a pretty large impact on Greenville and the Upstate. To follow along and be part of the growing social media industry, you can find her on Instagram @lesliefhaas or you can find her Instagram 101 course at lesliehaassocial.com.