She taught social media to megawatt personalities such as retired NBA all-star Shaquille O’Neal, movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White.
Her social media book, “Renegades Write the Rules,” made The New York Times’ best-seller list.
And she owns a growing social media company in downtown Las Vegas enlisted to inspire hockey fans to plunk down at least $150 for season- ticket deposits for a possible National Hockey League expansion franchise in Las Vegas.
But Amy Jo Martin also has another side to her business life that she also nurtures — giving talks on women entrepreneurship.
When Martin, 35, a downtown Las Vegas resident with 1.17 million Twitter followers, isn’t running her Digital Royalty company from the second floor of the John E. Carson Hotel commercial building, she’s jetting off to another venue to inspire women to follow their business dreams.
“My duty is to help others in navigating the imbalances and disconnects,” said Martin, a Green River, Wyo., native. She graduated high school in Bullhead City, Ariz., and is a 2001 Arizona State graduate.
Martin said she gives about 15 lectures a year on the topic, and taps her own life for anecdotes to help inspire women start and increase businesses.
She moved Digital Royalty to Las Vegas from Phoenix in June 2012, when Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh became a minority investor. Martin and Hsieh met on Twitter, with the Downtown Project founder serving as friend and mentor. Martin’s company has increased from 10 workers when she moved to Las Vegas to 30. And she’s hiring more.
Question: You have taught some big stars the value of social media, but how did you get involved with women entrepreneurs?
Answer: It started off with, “How can I make a difference?” One way was speaking with women. It started with the Women’s World Cup Finals in Germany in 2011. I realized there was a need to have a discussion before it became popular to talk about it.
Question: When you meet a talented businesswoman who fears growing her business for financial reasons, what advice do you give to help her overcome her fears?
Answer: I recently invested in one of my best friends from grade school. She wanted to go out and get a large amount of investment and it was a struggle so we decided to start small and just get started. Even if you have to start small. If you don’t believe in yourself then you can’t expect anyone else to believe in you. Once you get started you begin learning what will and will not work very quickly.
Question: Dana White calls the woman who works his Twitter account, “Twitter Baby,” but you told me you would not have allow Dana to call you by that nickname when you worked with him — why so?
Answer: First off, Dana and I have always had a great deal of mutual respect and I admire his innovative approach to business. He and Lorenzo (Fertitta) are two of the smartest businessmen I’ve ever met. I would not have allowed Dana to call me that because I haven’t been a baby in over 30 years. It would have been an incorrect statement. Plus, Dana knows better.
Question: Do you recall the moment when you decided you wanted to expand from being a one-woman operation to running a business that now has 30 workers and is growing? How did you overcome your concerns of trying to launch a business?
Answer: I honestly didn’t set out to build an agency, my main motivation was to design my own day. I thought I’d consult. As the business began to grow quickly I organically added more people, one person at a time. I strongly believe that where passion, purpose and skill collide, happiness resides. I’m fortunate to have found that intersection.
Question: What was the most important thing about business that you learned from Tony Hsieh and why?
Answer: Tony has taught me so many things. He is one of the most humble and successful individuals I have ever known and it seems when we practice humility, our growth is accelerated. Tony’s appetite for risk is unmatched and he is so experienced in testing new things and “taking the leap” that his net always seems to appear after he jumps.
Question: How do you apply the message of skiing a scary ski run as a young girl to your business life?
Answer: One of my earliest childhood memories was when my father, who is an expert skier, taught me how to ski and took me to the top of a black diamond run. We skipped the bunny slope that day and instead my dad helped me down this difficult path.
Years later, my friend Simon Sinek helped me identify my “why” — why I do what I do. I realized that my “why” is to help people do difficult things and also to allow people to help me do difficult things. I’m notorious for skipping the bunny slopes in life and sometimes it complicates things but the only way to be successful is to not go alone.
Question: I saw you speak about donating money for a water program in Africa. You seemed so at ease. How did you become such a confident public speaker?
Answer: If I’m passionate about a subject, I’m at ease. But at (Arizona State University) I was giving a public speech and I have never been more nervous. I couldn’t say two words.
Question: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?
Answer: I love traveling.
Question: To where?
Answer: Barcelona, Australia, Vancouver (British Columbia). Any place where there’s mountains and water. I own a boat in San Diego. I also am a snowboarder. I grew up skiing and began at 3 or 4.
Contact reporter Alan Snel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel