How to Turn a Viral Moment into a Successful Business with Sherrica Sims

What’s up, y’all. Welcome
to The Shontavia Show, where my goal is to help you start a
business based on your life’s vision. This ain’t gonna be your
daddy’s business advice. I’m laser focused on
entrepreneurship in the 21st century, vision and breaking the traditional
mold. If you can get with that, you can get with me, be sure to visit for more episodes, blog posts, and other content.
Thank you for listening. The show starts now. Hey everybody. I’m Shontavia and this is
another episode of The Shontavia Show. Well, I hope to inspire you to build a business
based on the vision you have for your life. I am so excited y’all to have
Sherrica Sims here with me today. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for having, me. I am so excited that
Sherrica Sims is here. She is the dynamic creative force
behind the Simply Sims brand. Sherrica is a lifestyle
blogger, a parenting expert, a host, a speaker, a motivator. She’s got the most beautiful
natural hair I’ve ever seen too, and Sherrica’s goal is to empower
women to rediscover their purpose, their passions in life by
sharing her family’s precious, yet hilarious moments. You may
have seen Sherrica’s daughter, if you’re one of the 13 million people
who saw their viral YouTube video in 2014 what was the title of it? I think my daughter, Tiffany, she tells a story about how she stole a
doughnut – something along those lines. So her three year old —
it’s been five years or so, 2014, her three year old tried to get out of
trouble cause she took a doughnut maybe when she wasn’t supposed to.
They’ve got 13.2 million views. I will link to that video
in the show notes for y’all, but Sherrica has agreed to come here
today to talk about going viral, starting a business out of
that unanticipated viral
moment and all the stuff that goes into that. Because you don’t
get a blueprint when you go viral. Nobody gets a blueprint
when they go viral. So, so excited to have you here today. Thank you again. So why don’t you tell the folks
a little bit about yourself, about where you’re from, about who Sherrica is
and how she came to be. So you can tell I’m not really
shy, but a little apprehensive. Sometimes to talk about myself,
but let me just give it a try. Um, but I am from Liberty, South
Carolina, a lot of people don’t know, but it’s between Greenville and Clemson
and I grew up in one of the probably the most churchy homes that you’re
ever gonna find literally. And so we were in church all the time. Um, so at this point I was
like, you know what, I didn’t have to talk about church to
get people to follow me or be interested in us. Just be yourself.
So, and how old am I now? 37. Just kinda realizing, just
let it go and just be yourself. And that’s what we are. And I think going viral was just literally
us being us and me parenting the way I parent. Yeah, so talk about that video. How did
it come about? What was Tiffany doing? So basically back in 2014, the
technology just isn’t what it is today. So you couldn’t send videos that were
more than like 30 seconds via text message or anything or email. So I would upload little videos on YouTube
for my husband and my mom and dad and my brothers to see. And that video just happened to be
one of the ones that went viral. So she had just, it was like 7:30 in the
morning. I’d just fixed them breakfast. She had just had breakfast. I was doing my normal thing
of cleaning out what was, was leftover and a box of
doughnuts had like three in there. I was going to throw
them out, got distracted. I taken it from my hiding place cause
all moms have a hiding place. Okay. I took it from the hiding place, put it on the counter cause I was going
take it out with the trash because they were stale. Um, got
distracted somewhere somehow. And saw her come out of
the corner of my eye. She was munching on it and I was
like, Tiffany, what do you have? And she was like nothing. And at
that stage in her development, she had started to tell stories whenever
I would catch her being, you know, a normal three-year-old. But my husband didn’t understand
what those were like cause you know, she’s the golden child, a little girl. So that’s what that moment was, was me showing him proof of her
storytelling when she gets in trouble. So it wasn’t like a plan. It
literally was just a moment. So how did it go viral? You sent
it to your husband and family… Yeah I shared it on Facebook, like
the link on Facebook. Um, then, honestly just kind of
give you the ins and outs. So a lot of people don’t go viral
naturally, organically anymore. So we actually did sign with a company
because I got contact with the company. But the video was at like 5,000
views and they were like, “Hey, we think this has
potential to go pretty big. Would you mind signing this
contract with us?” Well, at first they were just offering like
$100 and you’ve relinquished your rights and then, or you could sign it,
you know, option B, which was um, you get a percentage or they get
a percentage, like 20% or 15%, whichever you feel more
comfortable with, um, in the hopes that you would
gain more money from it. And this was out of left field for me. I had no idea that this was actually an
industry because I didn’t know about the viral nature of anything
other than just, you know, I was happy with the 5,000
views because I was like, “Oh, people think she’s cute.” And I was
like, cause she is cute, she’s my baby.” But um, we signed this contract with them
and that’s when it really took off. So they shared it with,
through like a, like I said, aggregator through the news industry
and that’s where it went on to like Good Morning America, those places. And
that’s where we got more revenue from it. But so how does it, how do you
make money off of the viral video? Could you talk a little about that? Because there’s lots of ways… So you mentioned that when you got 5,000
views they reached out and said, “Hey, we can give you $100 or a percentage. So where does that money come from?” So they have deals with, um, media companies to provide
videos for talking points, like morning TV shows, um, websites. Um, that’s the whole industry that I think
a lot of video creators or people who just post on social media don’t
understand that’s even there. Um, I didn’t understand. Um, but I
learned quickly and I said, okay, they want this, then this has value so I can now
charge what I want for my content. And so I made sure that we retained
ownership and that was just licensing, giving them permission
to license the video… Smart. You know the intellectual
property lawyer in me is excited that you went that route. Cause I was like, okay,
that’s not going to happen. And I made sure to add that before I
signed in the contract, that stipulation. Um, and that was probably one of the
best business decisions I ever made. And it also added something
that said I could, um, cancel this contract at my discretion. Okay. So could you talk a little about,
to the extent you’re comfortable, a little about the finances. What does that look like with
a video with 13 million views. So if you want to post anything
on YouTube, you need to, well YouTube has changed their policy, but at the time you could just monetize
your content without going into the partner program. So that meant it didn’t matter how many
followers or subscribers you had or how many views you had, you could just literally upload anything
and get advertising dollars from it. So that’s what I did. I
kind of Googled it, said, how do I make money on YouTube and
follow the step by step instructions, set up the account,
um, an AdSense account. And that was really how I made more money
than the deal I made with the people because I got the revenue
from the viewership. ‘. I see – that makes sense. Brilliant. So I got double- I double dipped. I see. That is brilliant. So you get a contract with this
company, you realize, “hey, I could make content that has value. You decided to build an entire business
empire and brand around this one viral video. So walk us through that
decision. How did that happen?. I just realized, you know, I didn’t want someone taking advantage
of my child because it was, that’s, that’s the motivating factor is that
I can’t be naive because I’m a parent, but I’m a mom protecting her
image. And that’s online forever. So understanding, I was mapping
out her future as well. Um, and then to make it easy and not
to put so much pressure on her, I made sure that the
whole family was involved. So we started to vlog our family
because that’s what the audience wanted. That was the number one thing
when they were giving me, I read the comments to see what the fans
wanted to see and created that content and that’s what kept them
engaged for a long time. Oh, that’s brilliant. So I’ve talked about on this show
I talk about on my website a lot, finding your ideal
customer, your ideal client. So you went and looked at their
comments, you saw what they wanted, you went and created that. And
how did that impact your family? How did they deal with the
newfound attention and all of that? Well, okay. So my husband is the
biggest stepping stone because he is, I tell him all the time, and this
is not a surprise to you, Stanley, that if it had not been for me, he would have been living in a basement
playing video games and working from home somewhere. Cause he just,
he’s an IT guy. So he doesn’t, people are not like… He can “people,”
but it’s not what he wants to do. So this was, um, he’s been the hardest person to get kind
of on board with it, but he’ll do it. Um, so I’m changing the trajectory after five
years of it being more just me and the kids because it’s easier, you know? And that’s really what I’m
more comfortable with. Um, so I create content that reflects that, like something that’s
relatable to the audience, which is motherhood and the obstacles,
obstacles that you encounter. Oh, that’s brilliant. So
your brand is motherhood, parenting and all those things. So you created a business and you decided
you were going to be an entrepreneur and do this. And now I know that you have worked
with huge brands like Nickelodeon and Kohl’s. How do you do that? How do you
go from a viral video, a YouTube channel, you start a business, how do you end up with
Koh’s and Nickelodeon and
what do those relationships look like? Okay. So yeah, it’s, it is, that’s
the key word relationships. So I, formed a relationship with YouTube, so YouTube contacted us
and at what point? Um, so I think it was like 2016, so we were two years into it before
YouTube contacted us because I think they want to see sustainability
on their platform, but they look at their analytics – it’s
Google – so they can see who’s the top creator. And um, for a
long time that was us. And um, they will put you into their network
and YouTube has a network of advertisers and they’ll recommend
people to those advertisers. Oh, I see. Okay. And so that’s how we
got some of those deals. Okay, cool. So what has that been like? So you were going about your
normal life, this happens, you start a business and
when I say start a business, did you like register LLC… I did. A tax ID number and all of that. So you make the switch
to running this company. And had you ever thought about
being an entrepreneur before? No. So I have a background in social
work and sociology was my major, was a social worker, um, and decided to become a stay
at home mom when I had our son. Miles is now 11, so I haven’t
really worked for 11 years. Um, so Tiffany was three at this
point and I just said, you know, when I had the money coming in,
I said I need to protect this. And the best way to protect that is with
the LLC because it is a business. Um, and that’s what I did. I put everything
under the name of our company, which is Go Be Great Productions and
funnel everything through that and make sure I do the taxes, you
know, taxes accordingly. We pay our taxes just like everyone else.
And I don’t keep any of that revenue. Most of that revenue went back
into getting equipment, um, just, you know, setting it up
basically. Um, and then I put it, I started a savings account
for our daughter and our son. Oh, brilliant of course. So how does all this impact your family? So now your family is the brand your
children and you and I see your husband on some of your stuff… He shows his face – he does. So how does that impact you when your
family is the brand and the business? But it also is your real life. No that we did… Two years ago,
I’m just going to be honest. It was extremely difficult to create
content because our kids were becoming uncomfortable with people knowing
them. Does that make sense? Were they getting recognized? At school, kids… I didn’t realize it was a lot of the kids
watching our content on their parents’ social media accounts on YouTube. So like I would look at analytics and
it was like, Hey, you have a great, um, demographic in women ages eight, well it was like 25 to 35 and I was like, but it was really their kids watching
their content on their account. I see. Does that make sense? Yeah yeah yeah. But I’ve always kept it family friendly. I think you want to keep that in mind. What type of content
do you want to create? If you’re going to make a
business that recognizes, or, that relates to brands because you want
to know what the brands are looking for. Does that make sense? And
so you want to actually, it’s a fine line to create what the
brand’s looking for and what your audience is looking for under your
voice. So for me as a mom, my audience was great. The brands are
great, but my first priority is my family. And so when these are just show signs
of uncomfortableness or discomfort is a better word, discomfort. I said,
well, you know, I’ll pull back. And it was a sacrifice
because the audience is not
happy because they want you and they become quite possessive. And that’s what I had to
realize. You know what? I am in control of this. I don’t want this to be in control of me
and my family or if it started to feel very tedious. Does that make sense? And the work is okay. But the emotional stress
was not good for our kids. Cause they had no privacy at school cause
their friends wanted them to perform like they did on YouTube,
that kind of stuff. So I say, well let’s back off of
YouTube for a little bit, even though that’s like some money, but also wanted to make sure I
balanced it. Does that make sense? Yeah. No, it definitely does. And kudos to you for prioritizing
your kids over the money. And I watch a lot of family blogs and
family accounts on YouTube and that kind of thing. I don’t think
everybody probably is doing that, No, they don’t and nobody
understands that either. So we have a lot of people behind the
scenes that we’ve worked with who don’t, um, who don’t understand why just
Sherrica, just do it, just do it. But I can’t just do it until,
cause it’s not just me. It’s the family. So that’s been
my thing. They’re my number one. So you mentioned – You mentioned
the fans want things from you. The brands want things for you. What do
they want? What do brands want from you? Once you go viral and you
have this family brand, what do the fans want and how did you
decide when it is the right thing and when it’s not? You mentioned your kids,
but what are the other considerations? Even if they wanted to
know, how do you decide? All right, so brands typically will have requested
an increased production value. Does that make sense? So like
I’m usually with my camera or my, well my little vlogging camera, but it’s really just been moments just
us being us, but they want a more, I guess scripted something that they
can easily see themselves plugged into. Um, which is difficult too because I’ve
seen the same brands work with other creators who have similar approaches.
But I think the only difference is, is being a woman of color that
they think you have to be perfect. You know what I’m saying?
The standard desire. And I was uncomfortable
with that because again, I think we have quality content. It just doesn’t look overly-produced
cause if it’s overly-produced, you’re going to lose some of your
fans. Does that make sense? So I’m of the mindset is you
can have us as on-air talent. So if you want us to be highly produced
and you pay for it and we’ll show up for your commercial – does that make sense? It does. It does. So as, and I realized I was telling
you earlier, um, as the talent, you get to say those things
and if you have that value, um, you get to control the narrative. So how do you get there? Cause
I would imagine most people, if they were in your shoes and they
have like Nickelodeon saying, “Hey, we want you,” or Kohl’s saying, “Hey,
we want you, or anybody, say, “Hey, we want you,” some folks would feel like, Oh well I should do whatever they want. How do you get to that point where you
can make that choice? where you say, “I’m the talent, I get to decide.” Because it was a lot of tears. Okay.
Like in private cause you know, I want this, you know, this is
like I’ve seen where this can go, I want this. But, um, I think as
a mom, a wife, a mother, a woman, you sacrifice, unduly sometimes, but I had to realize that anything
that’s going to be worth it, you have to go through that struggle
time. Does that make sense? Yeah. So it’s been more of me realizing who I
am in shaking off who other people have told me I had to be. Does
that make sense? And so, um, the brands were doing the same thing
I felt and the fans are doing the same thing. So I said, well, I don’t want
to lose myself in people pleasing. And, I think a lot of creative people, creative types are highly
sensitive to rejection or um, just the perception of others, period. So I had to realize I wanted
to do something different. I have control and I had to
get comfortable in my own
skin and understand that rejection is going to be
a part of it. And say, if a brand doesn’t like me
as I’m presenting myself, then they just are not a brand I’m willing
to work with no matter how much money may come. So could, could you speak a little
to that concept of income? So you know, like you
said when you went viral, the first thing you did is
said you Googled like how
do I make money on YouTube? So how do you, how do you make
money as a content creator? What are the various
streams that can come in? Okay. So you have to first, if
you’re going to look at any platform, you have to learn their policies,
their terms and conditions. You have to read those
pages and pages of, um, things that we typically
just say. Oh, I agree. But there’s a lot of information in
that. Um, for YouTube in particular, um, I follow the blogs, their
YouTube blog, and they, there is a wealth of information about
their policies and how they implement them and how that affects creators.
So I, that’s what I do. I follow that. I look at Instagram. Um, same thing with Tik Tok cause which is
a new and upcoming thing to see how will that effect, um, what I’m
trying to do and making money. So I think most people, if
you’re going to go viral, you need to have something
that you can fall back on too. So have a business idea or I have a
business already that you can kind of promote on those channels.
Does that make sense? While people are looking
at you? So one, um, I saw a comedian who did that – he had a
viral video with his son and he started his world tour, is what he’s
calling it. Um, stuff like that. Yeah. I think, um, that I didn’t have access to when we
started or I didn’t even know about. I’m learning from other people even
now how they create other streams. So people do merchandise
on their websites. Um, lots of different ways you can make money.
We’re talking about being a speaker, lots of different avenues. Um, it’s just what you’re comfortable with
and what do you have a talent for. So what do the brands you work with
want you to do? Is it commercials? Is it, I, I think I saw on one
of your Instagram channels, you visited a location.
What do they want you to do? And could you talk about
what you’ve done thus far? So we’ve done a lot of commercials. We did one with Kohl’s that was their
commercial, a social media campaign. Um, which was really fun. We went
to New York and filmed it. We were there for a week. It was really
awesome. We came back, um, this year, earlier this spring we went to the
Nickelodeon resort in Punta Cana and we were a part of their social
media video campaign as well. So, um, it’s all about, you know, again,
finding brands that are relatable. So my kids love Nickelodeon. I don’t
have a problem working with them. They’re respectful of
the family, you know, that was something they wanted
everybody to be involved with. Yeah. So I was like, good. And the team
was amazing. Everybody was great. So I would love to work
with them again. You know, that’s a relationship
builder. But as the talent, I’m learning that you want to work with
people who respect you and respect your boundaries. Um, so that’s
really good for me. And so they will be good for me to
work with again. Um, but that was just, and I think it helped me see, it
helped me dream bigger for our vision, my vision for the family.
Does that make sense? That now I’m kinda wanting to go more
into the travel industry and maybe being, becoming travel influencers because
especially in the Southeast, a lot of people don’t travel
outside of the Southeast, um, on a regular basis. So I wanted to show them that
it’s possible that there’s
a whole world out there and I want to show my children that
too. So yeah, that’s, that’s my, my goal, my vision as an entrepreneur
for my, for our business moving forward. So if someone wants to become a
content creator/influencer online, what do you tell them they need to do? Like what are the first
three things you need to do? If you want to create an online
platform where you are the talent, where you are the content creator. Okay. The first thing you need to do if you
want to become an online influencer or talent, whatever is know your voice because your
voice is going to draw your audience. So I’m not just know your audience, but also like the way
you engage with them. How much are you willing to share
of yourself? You know, cause um, it can be very, it can be as
invasive as you allow it to be, you know? Um, then there’s, um, like if you want to work with brands, you have to know what brands you
wanna work with and then pair up your, your content to line up with that. Um, and then probably the third thing
would be just do it. Just do it. So what do you mean by pairing
your content with the brands? So do you mean like make it visually
look like their stuff, or…? Or something that they could
see themselves plugged into? So if I wanted to work with Kohl’s again, I would probably look at what Kohl’s
is doing on their social media, on all platforms. Um, Facebook,
all the major platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, see what they are doing currently and
then create that same or similar type of content. Meaning if this highly produced, maybe abstract or colorful, I would like to make sure that
my stuff lines up with theirs. My content lines up with
theirs. Does that make sense? You’re not mimicking them, but you’re being inspired by them because
that’s someone that you want to work with. Got it. Cool. So who’s helped you? So you just gave amazing advice to people
if they want to get into this space. Who has helped you go from, you know, a viral moment to creating
a sustainable business? So that’s been something, again,
I think I told you earlier, it was just you have to
open yourself up to it. So like I had to go back to realize what
was holding me cause you creatives will have creative blockage, um,
and they’ll have their hangups. So I had a hang up with, you know, it’s like I don’t really trust a lot of
people so I don’t realize where did that come from? Kind of going back to
growing up in Liberty and you know, kind of being the odd woman out all
girl, you know, odd girl out. Um, and just saying that’s not me anymore. Letting that go and then reaching
out to people who are, um, who are impactful in their own
right, being inspired by them. One being you, Shontavia, who’s helped me out to
see my value as well. So Sherrica was a client of mine for
a while. We worked together 4-5 times. For the brand and understanding that you
can give yourself permission to evolve your brand. It doesn’t
have to stay stagnant. Um, so someone like yourself, um,
we’ve signed with another agency, out in LA cause I realized I can’t do
it all by myself and that says self sufficient. Yeah, there’s self sufficiency that we kind
of have to go through in life sometimes. And so being there for everybody
else made me a people pleaser. Like I said earlier in stopping doing
that. And just really focusing on, like I said, the goals I want to have for our family
that I do have for our family and going for it. Um, that’s been like
the main helpers is seeing, just saying you can’t do it
by yourself. And that’s okay. That doesn’t make you a failure. Yeah.
Help is, you know, that is courageous. That is strength. That is most
entrepreneurs that you see who are on it, that are blowing our minds now with the
things that they’re creating and doing and how they’re managing their
businesses. They have a whole team, a whole team of people, and you
can’t do it all by yourself. So that’s been really helpful for us. Is just to realize it well for me
as I lead the family in this avenue, so let it go and just trust other
people to do what they do well for me. Yeah. Oh man, that is such, such, such good advice, Sherrica. I so
appreciate that in particular. So what’s your vision? Last question. What is your vision for
the Simply Sims brand, your brand, your family’s
brand? What is your vision? The sky is the limit. That is my, my, um, my vision. The sky is the limit in
wherever we, wherever we want to go. We can do it as long as we’re together
and we’re doing what brings us joy. Cause I feel like if it brings
me joy it’ll bring others joy. And that’s my vision for,
for Simply Sims as a brand. So, so where can people find ya’ll online? Let me plug. Um, no, they can find
us on YouTube at Simply Sims. Um, on all platforms, we’re either @SimplySimsFamily
or @simplysimsfam because
it would be too long. So yeah, they could find us literally on
every platform. Twitter, Facebook, um, Instagram even Tik Tok. Okay. That’s
the new and up and coming one girl, we have to talk about that later. Oh hey, I have Tik Tok on my phone. I think I’m too old to really get it, That’s the thing, we all feel
like we’re too old, but it is not, there are women, men, grandparents
on that platform killing it. Oh, I, I believe it. I am confused
by VSCO girls, but I’m learning. I am learning. Tik Tok and we will
be on Tik Tok together pretty soon. How about we do something together? I got you, girl. All right, cool. So everybody, I hope you enjoyed this
conversation as much as I did. Sherrica thank you so
much, you are so wonderful. I love you and your family
and what you’re creating, you know that already. Good people, Shontavia is good
people as my grandma would say. Thank you. So if you guys have questions
about creating content
about what happens when you go viral, if you already have an online business
and you’ve experienced some of these same things, come over to
to this particular post. Drop a comment. Let us know what you are experiencing
and how you know how maybe we could be helpful to you when you’re
working in your platforms. Thanks. Thank you so much for listening to
this episode of The Shontavia Show. If you enjoyed this episode,
please be sure to like, subscribe and leave a comment
wherever you’re listening. You can find me on social media
everywhere, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and wherever
else @ShontaviaJEsq. You can also visit me at
to find a transcript of this episode along with other show
notes. While you’re there, please be sure to subscribe
to my email newsletter. The information shared in this podcast
and through my other platforms is designed to educate you about business
and entrepreneurship and I love to do this work. While I am a lawyer, though, the information I provide is not legal
advice and does not create or constitute an attorney client relationship. The Shontavia Show is a
LVRG Incorporated original. The show is recorded on site in South
Carolina and produced at Sit N Spin Studio in Greenville, South Carolina. Original music and sound design is
by Matt Morgan and Daniel Gregory. Mixing and mastering is by Daniel
Gregory and the video is by GVL Media.

2 thoughts on “How to Turn a Viral Moment into a Successful Business with Sherrica Sims

  1. The Shontavia Show drops a new video every Monday (full episode) & Thursday (#ThursdayThoughts Q&A) morning. Please leave a comment or suggestion about what you'd like to see in the future. In addition, please subscribe to the channel so you never miss an episode. FInd a show summary, show notes, and a full transcript of this episode at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *