College entrepreneur turns social media into a thriving business


By Benjamin Ervin

Michaela Ervin learned from the minor setbacks of her first business venture, and has now signed four clients in the first two months of opening her new marketing business.

Rebecca Carroll, Staff Writer

Michaela Rule Ervin started her first business in high school, but it wasn’t as successful as she had hoped. She learned from her mistakes and recently started her second business, Michaela Ervin Marketing, as a college senior at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Ervin’s first business, Michaela Rule Photography, started out as a side hustle. This was her first taste of entrepreneurship. However, the business didn’t grow beyond a small client base.

“I was trying really, really hard to get people to photograph and hire me as their photographer, but I just didn’t know anything about social media marketing,” Ervin said. “There was a moment I thought, ‘I don’t think I can do this anymore. This is too much work.’”

She took a step back from the business to clear her head. “Once I learned more about social media marketing, that’s whenever I felt like I could redo it and go ahead with my social media marketing business. My services are what old me needed whenever I had my photography business.”

Two years ago, Ervin took over the social media accounts for the Pregnancy Center of Bryan County, right about the time she picked up a communications major at Southeastern.

She started Michaela Ervin Marketing just over three months ago, and she currently has contracts with four clients.

As a full-time student and entrepreneur, Ervin said she likely won’t take on more contracts until after she has graduated, but does work with others on the side.

Ervin operates her business based on a Bible verse, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, which says to live a quiet life and work with your hands. She aspires to live a quiet life by working from home and homeschooling any children she and her husband, Ben, might have.

Starting a business as a student can be intimidating, but Ervin has been successful so far. “You’re never going to feel completely ready. You’re never going to feel like you know enough or you’ve done enough,” she said.

She credits one of her instructors, Tascha Bond, as a positive influence in her endeavors. “She has been encouraging to me and she always seems to believe in me, and she cares so much,” Ervin said. “That’s pushed me to have confidence in myself when I talk to clients and when I’m trying to make deals.”

Ervin is eagerly anticipating the future. “I’m definitely excited about the business and to see what I can do with it once I’m graduated. The fact that I have four clients within the first three months of having this small business is exciting. I see potential for it growing once I’m out of college,” she said.

Ervin plans to graduate from Southeastern in May 2021. Until then, she will keep studying and working on her business.