Originally from Kosovo, Erza Haliti was only four years old when they fled and found themselves in Germany. In 2000, her family made their American dream a reality when they moved to Boise, Idaho in the US. She went on to attend Boise State University and majored in Business Management. Prior to her post-secondary education, Erza was already immersed in the world of sales and marketing! Over the years, she has worked for companies such as Vitamix & T-Mobile. Erza Haliti ultimately became a Business Senior Strategists for Clients on Demand.
For Erza, joining the pageant world was only for fun but once the process began, she realized everything they can offer. The opportunity inspired her to help other women succeed in the pageant industry as well! It began with coaching, which led to include further in-depth public relations, social media management and branding. These skills allowed Erza Haliti to build a solid foundation, which she implements into her business practices today!
Today, Erza Haliti is the founder of Swayy Social, which is a company that helps small businesses with their social media, public relations, and overall branding strategies.
Where did the idea for Swayy Social come from?
The concept of Swayy Social came from several problem-solving situations I was looking to rectify; thought I didn’t realize it at the time. I started as a pageant coach which entailed their interview preparation and all the onstage guidance. I would be able to connect my clients with various businesses for sponsorship or partnership opportunities. It was important for me to teach them about branding strategies, especially with social media.
My sister, who works as a professional model was constantly getting different business opportunities via social media. She found it was difficult for her to manage the requests, while also working full time. As her sister, I obviously wanted to help in whatever way I could, I can thank my type A personality for that! After I helped with her requests, I found my friends had those similar requests issues as well! I was able to put a good system in placed that made managing them inquires easy and stress free! Also, I realized this issue existed was the inquires my boyfriend was receiving. As a professional athlete playing for the Denver Broncos, there are also several inquires for him to go through, but schedule does not always all for that to possible. I helped him with his overall social media presence and connected businesses with him along the way!
I have always found myself being super passionate about taking photos, creating content, and the editing process. As I continued to pursue it, the more I realized that if I can make my work something that I’m passionate about, I could make my career. Each of these situations in culmination together, were how I began to transition from helping individuals to helping small businesses as well.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning and write in my gratitude journal. Then, I visualize for 10 minutes, and I review my schedule for the day. Afterwards, I go ahead and focus my energy on my current clients and fulfilling their social media needs. Usually, each day I ensure I get in a workout and utilize my second half of the day to focus on finding new prospects, new clients, setting up meetings, responding to emails. Before I close out my day, I always find some time to do some social media research to stay on to date on the latest trends.
How do you bring ideas to life?
This has always been one of the biggest challenges for me as I am a perfectionist. I find myself waiting for the perfect time, the perfect opportunity and wanting everything to be lined up exactly the way I need it to or want it to be. Through a lot of hard work, I have realized that being a perfectionist just means being fearful; that you are somehow afraid to take that next step. Now the way I bring ideas to life, would be by talking to a team of people that I trust about it and then I take the next steps that I need to implement. I have learned it is best to finetune things along the way, rather than waiting to make the changes. Along the way, sometimes I do make mistakes. My biggest success has always been when I have moved forward, but researching and fine tuning along the way.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The Black Lives Matter movement brings larger levels of excitement, as you see a lot more businesses taking a stand in support of this cause. Previously, businesses, influencers and politicians always remained neutral and vague on their stance. Now, its comforting to see individuals and businesses standing up to injustice.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit I would say is keeping a calendar, it truly does help increase my productivity. I tend to look at things from a bigger picture, so a calendar allows me to still produce my schedule, write tasks down and create lists.
What advice would you give your younger self?
First and foremost, I would say eliminate your worry of failure. Secondly, I would suggest really setting a financial plan early on. Since a young age, I have always had a job but never considered the full importance of saving until later in life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Many people have negative stereotypes about pageants. Some believe that pageants are degrading, but in my opinion, they are empowering! Pageants help women develop skills and traits that are beneficial in achieving so many career opportunities. Today, there are so many women that are in the public eye that started out in pageants.
Pageants truly changed my life for the better and if I were to have a daughter, I will encourage her to compete in pageants. Whether she is in middle or high school, I would ensure she tries is at least once to gain the experience and then decide from there what she wants to do. I learned so many life skills that I had not learned in high school or even in college through pageants, such as how to interview and how to network, etc.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As humans, naturally, I believe we are born to be negative and that leads us to become our own worst critics. I recommend journaling and writing one’s positive affirmations, and then visualizing for five or 10 minutes every day. The more you put yourself in that positive mindset, the more real it feels to you and the easier it is to reach your goals.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I would say being able to connect and getting to know people is really important, especially in this business. It’s necessary to be able to network and find opportunities to collaborate when you can.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When you first begin a business your business, often, you don’t have any capital to begin, so being mindful of what you invest is important. One failure of me was investing with a vendor who I believed would benefit me, but it caused a financial setback. Whenever you are collaborating or investing, ensure you do your due diligence. To overcome the hurdle, it required a lot of overtime work to recover but led to a good learning experience.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea I would suggest would be to find a service or product that would normally be in person and transition it to have an online availability. As we are still during the pandemic, it is crucial that businesses look for different ways to reinvent themselves.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
As COVID-19 has brought some new norms, it has limited our abilities of spending a lot of time with family and friends. I decided at the beginning of quarantine, I wanted to create care packages for my family and friends to express my appreciation for all of them, especially during these times.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My favorite app to use is called Cozi, which has a built-in calendar and to-do list. Also, it allows you to share your information, it’s super helpful!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book that I would recommend is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I have always been fascinating by why we do certain things and why we are the way that we are. This book helped me to understand my habits and how to change those habits and better your life. I love the idea of understanding what it is that is holding us back and how to overcome it.
What is your favorite quote?
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar.
• Look for opportunities and be openminded to growth.
• Learning does not stop when you are done with school. It’s a way to live your life.
• Have people in your life to guide you through a process that they’ve already been through, rather than trying to figure things out on your own.
• For business ideas, find something that you are passionate about, a need you can fulfill, and something that will better people’s lives.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.