Paige Velasquez Budde | Performing at Disney Events, Transitioning to Digital Marketing, and Building a Good Vibes Culture
Smart Business Revolution

Paige Velasquez Budde is a Partner and the CEO of Zilker Media, an Austin-based agency that builds people-driven brands. She has been a featured speaker on digital marketing strategy topics and has led workshops at national venues such as Harvard Medical School, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse, Zilker Park, and Hilton Hotel, as well as for organizations such as the Women Presidents Organization. Paige also has an amazing background as a musician and performer. 

Paige Velasquez Budde, a Partner and CEO at Zilker Media, joins John Corcoran in this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast to talk about her experience being a music performer for Disney and how she moved to digital marketing. Paige also talks about her company’s core values and advises new authors on publishing books and building a social media audience. Stay tuned.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Paige Velasquez Budde’s experience performing at Disney events at 13 years old and how that influenced her future career
  • How social media helps artists build their brand
  • Paige’s transition to PR and digital marketing — and her advice to new authors on publishing books and building an audience
  • How Paige’s clients and Zilker Media were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Paige talks about good vibes as one of her company’s core values and explains how she instills it in her team
  • Paige’s thoughts on the future of running businesses and how her company implemented open book management
  • The people Paige respects and where to learn more about her

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:14 

Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. And if you are new to the show, go check out some of our past episodes. We’ve got some great past episodes in the archives with smart CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs from companies ranging from Netflix to Kinkos’, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, OpenTable and many more. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And my guest today is Paige Velasquez Budde. She is a Partner and CEO at Zilker Media, an Austin based agency that builds out people driven brands. She’s been a featured speaker on various different digital marketing strategy and topics and she’s led workshops at national venues such as Harvard Medical School, Austin’s own Alamo Drafthouse, Zilker Park, Hilton Hotel and for organizations such as the Women Presidents Organization. She also has an amazing background as a musician and a performer. 

So we’re gonna ask her about that. And of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, where we help b2b businesses to get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing, something that Paige loves to talk about. She’s a big fan of podcasts. And anyone who’s a fan of podcasts is a friend of mine. So, Paige, so I’m excited to have you here today. And I’m happy to dive into some of these different topics. But first of all, you were like a Disney kid who at the ripe old age of 13 years old, went on the road, going and performing at different events around your home state of Texas. For Disney, what was that experience? Like how did you get up doing doing that at such a young age?

Paige Velasquez Budde 2:14

Well, thank you, John for having me and, you know, it was a crazy experience, to be honest. And I would, I feel like I’ve almost had two careers in my life a little bit, was, you know, a musician growing up and started kind of right in the Disney radio, Disney circuit where it was more, you know, kind of pop and dance and, you know, singing and it was a lot of fun. And it’s a lot of experience in terms of one just getting to travel around to learning how to balance, you know, still going to public school and being out most of the time to do that type of stuff. But three, just also, you know, my love of performing it, you know, that’s something that fulfills me in terms of where I can push my creative energy. And also, it really feels like my safe place is onstage and performing. And, you know, I’ve had the opportunity to translate a little bit of that into what I do today. But you learn a lot, you learn a lot really quickly about management about contracts about what’s the right opportunity, what’s the wrong opportunity. And I feel like I learned really quickly and gained, you know, a thick skin really early on because of that experience. And, you know, I spent most of my childhood and my teenagers going audition, audition after audition for various things. And I feel like it’s, it’s great for me now looking back that I was told more, I was told no more than I was told yes. And so I feel like there’s so much now looking back on it that I’ve been able to garner from those experiences.

John Corcoran 3:54

Or from that it’s such a crazy experience at that age to be going out and doing that I think about my own insecurities at that age. 13 14 years old, I couldn’t imagine being on stage and performing. But um, what was what was a high and what was a low from that experience from those years.

Paige Velasquez Budde 4:13

I would say a big Hi was just validation around songwriting, and that’s something I really loved. When I was very young, I believe this actually happened at 13. I had one of the top songs in the US that was voted on in Cosmo girl magazine, which doesn’t even exist anymore. But it was a it was a female empowerment song. It was really fun. And that was a huge high because a lot of what I went through which is probably a low on that side was management teams telling me you know what I can and can’t do it all the way down to how I need to be cutting my hair and the type of sound that I need to have and no that’s not right or Oh dance this way. And you know, I don’t want to do Have any of that. And I think, you know, a lot of that is why I kind of shifted later on in life and in terms of how I want to pursue creative ventures. But what I learned from that was, I can start owning a lot more of what I’m doing if I start writing my songs, and I can actually get my voice out there in a way that helps other people. But also, I can start owning more of my career and what this looks like moving forward, and not be beholden to everyone else telling me, this is what you need to do this is the song, media is saying, you know, those types of things?

John Corcoran 5:36

Yeah, it’s interesting. Now, these days, artists need to control their audience in many ways, right, they need to have those social channels, they need to build up their Instagram, they need to build up their their TikTok, they need to build up their YouTube channels, it’s, it’s so much more than just going out and performing, they have to think about all these different things as well.

Paige Velasquez Budde 5:58

Absolutely. And it’s, you know, it’s beautiful to see it all grow this way, because there’s so much more opportunity now to come out as an independent artist. You know, things like YouTube weren’t really there until the later part of my career when I was transitioning out. And so I have some stuff up on YouTube, that’s still there, but it’s pretty old. And that’s because that’s when it was kind of first coming to live. Facebook, I remember, kind of mid career was starting to come alive. And you know, ReverbNation, I think was the big thing back then where we, you were able to put out your songs, but it wasn’t to scale like you can today. And it’s so exciting for artists to see them be able to break, you know, full records completely on their own. And being able to build an audience and tour all while being independent. And I’ve seen so many wonderful Texas country artists that I’ve been able to do that and be extremely successful with what they’re doing. And so I’m, I’m excited to see that shift. And in terms of what the landscape looks like, you know, especially for musicians, because that’s a that’s a soft place in my heart. And something I’ll always love doing Yeah,

John Corcoran 7:07

it is really exciting to see them have more control and more direct communication channels with their audience. I want to ask you how, you know, in my career, I’ve had a lot of transitions from one career to another. And I know, there’s often a dark period in there or a struggle, as you go from, you know, this period where, you know, you got success in one area, but you’re driven to try something new, go to a new industry, and then all of a sudden, it’s like, what you did in this other industry? It doesn’t mean anything, this new industry. So what was that like for you? You know, I know in the early 2013 time period, you’re by then you’re you’re working, doing more social media and working within agencies. How did you get started in in that, and what was that period? Like?

Paige Velasquez Budde 7:58

Yeah, so there was kind of a transition period. And I would say it’s, it was mainly while I was in college at the University of Texas, here in Austin, and I was still doing, you know, some things that were musician focus, which, of course in Austin was was very wonderful to do. But also there, I was starting to get excited about different opportunities in terms of what my future could look like, and how I could have more ownership of that. And so, you know, I started just just testing things out in terms of the experience that I could get, I did several types of PR, you know, I did several types of digital marketing, and trying to get as many internships as possible are areas of opportunity where I can jump in and support a team, just so I can learn and experience what that would be like. And so, I did a lot of that. And, you know, one of those really resonated with me and stuck in that was being focused more on the book marketing agency side of things. And so representing authors that, you know, we’re putting out business books that we’re putting out healthcare books, you know, that was kind of the bread and butter. And what I really enjoyed doing, I think a lot of it, though, had to do with the culture of the team that was at that agency. So that’s what I did kind of right out of college, and I started focusing on that. And it was really exciting because I had the opportunity along with the team to represent over 30 New York Times and Wall Street Journal, best selling authors, which was pretty life changing to be part of those campaigns. And this this agency was called Shelton Interactive, and was ran by Rusty Shelton, which is now my business partner at Zilker Media. And so it was just pheneomenal to experience that, you know, I would say it’s 70 to 80% of our team is now part of Zilker Media as well that was part of that previous agency But it was exciting to really hone in on that passion of representing people. And how do you build community of readership for those individuals through PR and through digital marketing. And that’s where that transition really started to take place in terms of where I was really putting focus in terms of my energy and creative energy. And that’s where the the world of social media was really blossoming at that time. And there were so many new opportunities in terms of how you could reach an audience at scale, that there were in the past. And so it was really fun kind of drilling in on that and learning how do we how do we do that in this new landscape?

John Corcoran 10:43

It’s amazing one, the parallels between what we were just talking about musicians building up connections to their audience and authors, right and and just how much things have changed for both musicians and authors over the last 1520 years, the opportunities but also the the challenges for them as well. Take Take me through if I was, let’s say a new author coming in, not one. And you’ve worked with some big ones, Chicken Soup for the whole soul, Harvard, things like that. He worked with some bigger authors. But but take me through if I’m, let’s say a newbie author coming in to your office, and I’m saying I want to put out a book in a year. What do I need to know what is an author is putting out a book these days need to be prepared? What kind of assets kind of resources or kind of channels that need to be on?