The following is a condensed and edited interview from creator and Instagram marketing expert Carole Bardasano. She’s a Miami-based marketing expert with experience working internally at Fortune 500 companies like Warner Brothers and NBC turned business owner. Through her small business, The Digital Buzz, she originally taught social media marketing courses to executives in person and has since moved completely online. This post is part of Creator Month where we are using our platform to showcase creators who are doing what they do best: sharing what they know! 

Where it all started 

I spent 16 years working in corporate for large brands like Warner Brothers, NBC, Viacom, and Swatch Group. When this whole digital marketing thing started evolving back in 2014, “digital” marketing was a very exciting term—but not a lot of people were doing it.

I was head of content at MTV, and I left my job to go study digital marketing. I took a year off and I went to San Francisco to get a degree in digital marketing. And when I came back, I wanted to explore it as a career. So I got hired at Swatch Group, which was just moving the entire group of brands from New York to Florida.

I was hired as head of digital marketing and I was sort of assigned the title of “in-house trainer” for digital marketing for the executives of the company. I had never taught in my life because I was doing marketing! Because I was training people on how digital marketing works and social media, I started putting these little trainings together. And while I was a Swatch, I thought to myself, “Maybe there’s something here. I’m just going to take a leap of faith and leave corporate, leave my nine-to-five after 16 years, and launch my own business called The Digital Buzz.”

Taking a leap with teaching

Because I had worked in corporate for so long, I started getting a lot of corporate clients. I was doing in-person trainings, and so developed a program called the Digital Marketing Bootcamp for executives. It taught executives everything they needed to know about digital marketing in just two days. And the program was very successful! I started pitching it to different companies in Florida, and they started hiring me. I would go to their offices set up in their boardrooms, and I would train their departments. 

I did that for two years. When 2020 started, all the work that took me two years to build, the social proof, and the referrals, everything completely disappeared, vanished. No one was doing in-person trainings. So every single thing got canceled. And I had no business practically—by March everything was gone.

I had been doing three or four trainings a month. I had always thought about doing online courses, thinking I should learn them. But it felt like a huge mountain to climb. 

Bringing it online

While I loved the interaction [of in-person courses], I was getting exhausted. Doing the same training 16 hours week after week—I was almost tired of my own training! And then you can only make so much money because you’re one person. 

I was by myself because I had left corporate and I didn’t want to hire anyone. So I knew I needed to learn online courses. 

I enrolled in Melyssa Griffin’s course. I bought her course and I learned everything I needed to know at the time: How do you record things? How do you structure modules? How do you do your courses online? 

If you haven’t done both in-person and online courses, you don’t know how different it is. You have to structure everything completely differently. So I created the first course, which was the Digital Marketing Bootcamp. I transferred everything over online and it did amazing. It took me three months to record, edit, and structure it. 

After the first course, I was so hooked that I completely canceled any in-person trainings. To this day people call me to do the live training, saying, “We’ll pay you whatever!” But it’s not only about the pay for me. It’s more that I don’t want to stand up for eight hours doing a training when the course is right there online.

I went from training groups of 12 to 15 in a classroom. Now my last course was around 200 people. 

I am relaunching in the fall with a different course called, “How to run your Instagram like a CEO.” I know that a lot of business owners struggle with how to get Instagram to work for them without being glued to the platform or having to post seven times a day doing crazy Reels, and all that stuff. So with this course, I teach more digital marketing so that students can drive business with more effective strategies. 

A newfound freedom

I used to do consulting. I used to run ads for people. And I canceled everything and only do courses now. Freedom has been something I don’t want to give up. I now spend three months creating and marketing the course. And then after that I can go back to the daily grind. I have total respect for a nine to five. But at this point, now that I did all the work of putting the courses together, it feels nice to breathe. 

I have packed my coaching business that I used to charge six figures for right into the course. I used to deal with huge budgets with Fortune 100 companies and I want to make this information accessible for everyone.That part has been super rewarding and being able to impact students from all over that I could have never dreamed of. It’s not possible without an online course. It’s the only way you can do that.