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Lucia Clemetson (also known as @Reata_Rose on Instagram) is a horse trainer and a western fashion influencer making waves in the western industry. This multi passionate entrepreneur is the perfect combo of poise and strength and I had such a blast getting to hear more about her story and what brought her to where she is today.
In 2010 she started her own horse training business and never looked back. Lucia claims she has always wanted to work for herself because while she can be super professional, she also has her opinions and is not afraid to speak her mind for the things she believes in. Something I really admire about her!
Oddly enough, a few years back she met Shaley Ham @westdesperado at a mutual friends wedding and saw that she was starting to step into the western influencing space. Lucia thought it looked like fun and something different for her to try so she gave it a shot. And thus, @Reata_Rose was born.
FINDING CLIENTS IN THE BEGINNING OF A NEW BUSINESS
Lucia says when she started her business it was a struggle to find clients. She even joked that she didn’t eat for 4 years. Something I think a lot of new business owners can relate to. And it just goes to show that everyone has to start somewhere no matter the experience you have. Lucia had a pretty extensive resume when she began her own horse training ventures.
For several years, Lucia worked as a Dental assistat to make ends meet. A typical week for her was working in the office Monday through Thursday and training horses Friday through Sunday. For the first years of her business, she did not have a single day off.
But as time went on, she had a 3 month waiting list of horse training clients. After a while she got backed out so far that she decided to make the jump to a full time business owner. Since then she has been a full time horse trainer.
WHAT HELPED HER GROW THE MOST
Lucia says that word of mouth was really helpful for her success and growth in her business. People started to know her name and recommend her which was great being that social media was not nearly as helpful back then as it is today.
Lucia specializes in colt starting and refinement mostly but she is starting to ride and compete in reining cow horse competitions and riding reined cow horse prospects. She says that though most trainers start at the bottom and start colts, she has no problem being the neighborhood colt starter. She loves what she does and she’s good at it.
When she first started, she was taking on 30 day colt starts and as a general rule of thumb, you don’t do that. But she says everyone has to start somewhere. All you are doing with a 30 day colt start is flooding the information to the horse as quickly as possible. Yes, the horse can handle it but it doesn’t always mean it’s the right way to go about things. And typically in the newer stages of a business, you want to do whatever you client wants so you can have a good name for yourself.
But meeting client expectations can be challenging. And she had struggled with really figuring out where she stood in her expertise. Imposter syndrome can come creeping in and make you feel like you aren’t meant to be doing what you are doing. Luckily though, Lucia was able to overcome these feelings and objections and now she is really confident in her program she offers and what she does. Posting on social media has helped her a ton because now her clients will reach out and already know exactly what to expect from her and the timeline that she works on.
CREATING A STRONG BRAND
Because of her presence on social media, Lucia has been able to create relationships with clients before ever meeting them. This builds the like, know and trust factor and can ultimately help people ease into wanting to work with you down the road. It’s not always a fast process, though. Some of her clients watched her page for years before ever hiring her. Building a strong brand will allow people to feel like they know who you are and you will start to get those connections with people.
WESTERN FASHION INFLUENCING
Once Lucia decided she wanted to give the influencing thing a shot, she reached out to some photographers did some photoshoots and waited for the brand deals to come rolling in. To her surprise, she heard nothing but crickets. It’s important to know that if you want to start working with brands, especially popular ones, you need to be putting in the work before they even reach out to you.
You should be buying from them, and sharing items you love already. This is going to create an authentic transition into a paid collaboration down the road as you were already sharing them for free. You want to be building that trust with your audience that you mean what you say. Don’t be the influencer only sharing a brand because you got paid for it. Love the brands you share. Be honest and up front with your thoughts and feelings.
After trial and error, Lucia found another photographer she really liked working with and reached out to her. The two paired up and have built a really great team together. Lucia says they work well and have a solid agreement on what they do. She says that it wasn’t until she invested in professional photography and quality clothing that companies and brands started reaching out to her wanting to work together.
Lucia also says that if you want to start working with brands, consistency is key. You need to have an active presence on social media and show the brands that you are serious about what you do. Consistency will also help you find your place on the platform you are using. She says you are not going to find where you belong until you keep posting over and over again.
The influencing part of Lucia’s business is still a work in progress. She says that horse training comes first but now that she is starting to get into paid collaborations, she is trying to figure out how to balance the two. Daycare has been a big help for her and just accepting the fact that she is a human being and cannot do it all, all the time.
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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