Have you ever had trouble coming up with content? Are you wondering if the audience will receive it openly and respond positively? Good content creation is vital for any business. It helps your organization establish its brand to generate warm leads. In this episode, we have Fanny Dunagan, the CEO and Video Content Strategist of PathLynks. PathLynks is a consulting firm that helps coaches and consultants create digital content, video strategies & content plans. Stay tuned as Fanny will share the principles, foundation, or purposes for creating content!
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Fanny Dunagan – China To Canada To Singapore To Texas
Engineer To LinkedIn Content Creator Entrepreneur
In this episode, I had my very good friend and a great entrepreneur, Fanny Dunagan. Welcome to the show.
I’m excited to be here.
Thank you so much for coming out. Let’s jump right in. Tell me about your current business. What do you do?
I have my own consulting firm where I help small and mid-sized companies with their LinkedIn branding, video content, and messaging. I also help corporations with employer branding as well as recruitment.
What’s the name of that company?
When did you start PathLynks?
It was in 2013. We started it because we are helping a local outreach center with job fairs. From there, it grew, and I started creating more and more content for employers as well as job seekers. Individuals approached me, coaches, consultants, and business owners. It has been my passion ever since to create content for others.
Now, you have a LinkedIn Live show.
You were one of my early guests.
A little of our history. A mutual friend introduced us, and you were ever angelical about LinkedIn, and I was reluctant.
You were hesitant, skeptical.
I was a disbeliever as I was about social media of any kind for a long time, and now, here we are, with The Proven Entrepreneur show and I’m blessed to have many Proven Entrepreneurs who I know and love to guests with me. Let’s go way back to young Fanny. School girl through high school. Were your parents entrepreneurial? Is that where you caught the entrepreneur bug?
My grandfather had a Chinese herbal store like acupuncture in Chinatown in Toronto. My grandfather was very entrepreneurial. He was practicing Chinese medicine, and my mom helped him in the store. I still remember playing around with the cash register and helping out in my little way at the store. I don’t know if that started me on entrepreneurship or not. At that time, I was very risk-averse. I wanted to follow the traditional path of going through school, going through college and university, and then get into a corporate job. I had it all laid out in front of me, thinking that was the path and only path to follow but I’m here now. Something happened along the way.
As a young girl, tell us about your first job.
I was a piano teacher. In high school and even towards the end of high school, I helped out at a local Saturday music class school and taught piano.
You taught piano and got paid. That qualifies as a first job.
It was fun teaching little kids. They were 5 or 6. Since I was young, I liked playing the role of teacher. I used to hang out with my grandmother. I made her the student, and I was her little teacher.
You are still teaching social media strategies. How about that?
I enjoy sharing knowledge and learning at the same time, so I guess it carried through.
After young Fanny, you went on to college and then university. What did you study?
I was a big geek. I studied Civil Engineering. I was fascinated by buildings. I was thinking of architecture but then I doubted myself. I didn’t think I was creative enough to be an architect but I love Math and Science. I was great at it. I went to Civil Engineering, which is the techie side of buildings.
That darn architects are going to need a civil engineer anyway.
To make sure it stands. I loved it. I always tell people that Mac and Cheese, Star Trek, and homework were my staples during university but it was a fun time. I was a big geek.
Whatever comes out of your mouth, whatever you have to say, it's enough. Click To Tweet
You’ve got your Engineering degree, and you went into the field of engineering?
I did for a while. I did an exchange program through my university with the University of Singapore. I’ve got to go to Singapore for one semester. I fell in love with it. I like exploring, seeing different things, and being in different environments. I ended up getting a job there. After graduation, I went to work in Singapore for 4 or 5 years.
I did transportation planning, planning roads and traffic systems, highways, and train systems. I started to get tired of Excel and spreadsheets, and I’ve got into business consulting. That’s when I got into technology, training, change management, and communications. That’s when my love of creating content started.
Did that bring you back or bring you to the States from Singapore?
I spent about five years there and met my husband in Singapore. We met at work, and he was an American. I always joke that a Canadian, where I grew up, had to go to Singapore to meet an American, fall in love, and then come back to North America. We settled in San Antonio for a while. I have always worked in consulting. Change management consulting, helping technology firms build their communication and training plans and still serving aerospace and defense clients. My inner geek still got to extend itself, and at the same time, I’ve got to still nurture the side of me that liked being with people through communications and training.
Tell us how you started PathLynks. What led to that?
It’s another windy path. Consulting comes with 100% travel. We had the road warrior life for a while. We fly out on Monday, go to the clients, serve them, stay overnight in hotels and then fly home on Thursday. That’s super fun in your twenties but when you are ready to have babies, you can’t do that. My biological clock started ticking, and I wanted to have babies. I paused my consulting career to be a stay-at-home mom, and those years were great. I ended up doing some part-time work for my old consulting firm, and then I had another baby. It was a period of my life when I lost my way because I was so entrenched in corporate, and then I was a stay-at-home mom.
When our second child got older, I was like, “What am I going to do?” I can’t go back to the consulting life, yet I still want to work. I felt like my brain was slowing down if I didn’t work. I started volunteering at a local outreach center right here in Grapevine. That’s how I’ve got into helping them with their training, with GED and English as a Second Language classes. From there, they are like, “Our folks need jobs.” I’m like, “Why don’t I organize a job fair?”
Together with myself and two other moms that were also taking a pause in their careers, we created all these career fairs for the local community. It was in the process of promoting them that I started creating tons of content for Facebook, LinkedIn, and videos. That was when my love of content creation came about. It was a very windy and weird path that I think was thrown into things that eventually turned out. That grew into a business, and now I help all these different clients, business owners, coaches, and consultants. It’s super fun. I love it. I would have never thought that I could have taken on the role of an entrepreneur but I can’t go back now.
It’s almost like every reward is on me, and every success and failure is on me. You have super great days, and you have other days that you lose a client or a sale but then everything is on me and I like that.
Entrepreneurs can be rugged individualists, though there’s power in the team, for sure. What about a hard lesson? Something you have learned in your entrepreneurial journey that was painful but maybe in retrospect turns out that it was very positive. Is there any hard lesson you could share with us in this episode?
To your point, we can’t do it alone. I have realized that I can only learn and do so much, and then I burn out because there are only 24 hours in a day, and I still need to sleep, be a mom, a wife, a daughter, and all those other roles that we play in life. The lesson for me was that I had to double down on what I was strong in, which was the content creation side of it, and then hire people for the rest. Over the last few years, I have hired an editor. I hired an assistant and a writer. I have learned that I can’t do it all. Even if I think, my controlling mind might think I can but it’s not possible. To delegate, concentrate on my strengths and hire for my weaknesses.
What about a warp speed moment. You referenced Star Trek, so I know you will understand the reference to warp speed. Things are going along pretty good in your business but then all of a sudden, 1, 2 or 3 things fall into place where things take off.
I landed a big corporate client. I have a big corporate client that I support called delaware North America, and it was through relationships. I always talk about the power of relationships and networks. One of my former colleagues asked me to come in and help them with recruitment. I said, “I will accept it only if you allow me to do employer branding as well.” I was able to incorporate all the content creation and branding side of my work and bring it to their corporation. They take up a big portion of my time but they are also a big client of mine, and that certainly accelerated PathLynks to a whole new dimension.
Certainly, as entrepreneurs, we want clients, and big clients are better than little clients.
It’s the 80/20 Rule.
It’s a good thing to have a big client. First off, let’s give a shout-out to those babies because they will get to read this. Tell us their names.
My daughter is Mia Dunagan. My son is Tristan Dunagan.
What about a nugget? Something you know that we probably don’t know. Let’s put it in your wheelhouse of content creation. What’s something we could learn from you?
One of the staples of content after studying it for so long, what works and what doesn’t work, is all content falls into four purposes. Number one is to educate your audiences. That’s when people create content for the purposes of giving tips, advice, lessons learned, and so forth. That’s how you set yourself up as a thought leader as well, and then people hire you.
Number two is informational posts. It means you inform people of your podcasts, shows, webinars, conferences you are speaking at or you are attending, workshops, and so forth. Number three would be inspirational posts where you create things to inspire people. You may share a painful lesson that you learned and how you overcame it or a quote that motivates you when you vare down. Also, a story that lifts you up when you are having a bad day.
The fourth one is entertaining. We have seen tons of folks be funny and crazy. A big part of YouTube is to entertain. Whenever you can incorporate entertainment or humor into your content, that’s also an extra bonus. Those four types are the foundation purposes of content is to educate, inform, inspire and entertain.
I have a client who shall remain nameless on the show that I have been doing my best to inspire to do a YouTube video about prom dresses made out of toilet paper and tape. They will know who they are, and it will be hilarious. We will see if they actually get there. Fanny, if we could put you in a time machine and send you back to twenty-year-old Fanny. You get five minutes with her. You can give her one piece of advice only. Something that will help her on her entrepreneurial path. What would that be?
If you're not online these days, then you're not going to be found. This is the digital world that we live in now. Click To Tweet
To not be so afraid. To try things even when you are not sure about the answer, walk into a room and be self-assured about what is about to come out of your mouth because you believe in it and you are passionate about it, and know that you are enough. Whatever comes out of your mouth, whatever you have to say, it’s enough. Even if your answer is, “I don’t know now but I will find out,” that’s also enough. The twenty-year-old me was a lot more uncertain and trying to find my way. If I had half the confidence I have now, it would certainly serve me a lot more but maybe it’s the path that we are on. We need that discovery path. It’s to have courage, not be scared and try it.
Most people probably have that issue at some time or another. I shared with a guest that one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite philosophers is, “You are far better, stronger, and smarter than you think.” That’s by the wise Winnie the Pooh but it’s so true. Many people view themselves with a harsh eye.
We are all better off to give ourselves a break, to boldly go and see how the cards fall. Maybe we win, maybe we learn but learning is just a little slower winning anyway. That will help us on our path. Let me ask you. This is typically the toughest question I ask an entrepreneur. If you could ask one thing from the Proven Entrepreneur tribe for you, what would that ask be?
Do you mean a question that I want answered?
Maybe something we could do for you or that you want that you think this audience could provide? What would that be?
It would be twofold. For selfish reasons, I will first say that if you ever come across somebody that wants to build their online brand on LinkedIn, I hope that they will think about me and refer me. That would be purely selfish. On the other side, it’s something that I also say at the end of my show. As I watch my kids grow up and especially navigate the teenage years, one thing I want folks to ask and encourage themselves is I have a hashtag called #ShineYourLight. I always wrap up my shows with that hashtag because more people need to be sharing their messages, gifts, and voice through video.
Whether they hire me or someone else or pick up a phone, hit record, and post it, more people need to hear from all your entrepreneurs out there about their gifts and their messages. Also, to get out there and put it on video. If you are not online these days, then you are not going to be found. This is the digital world that we live in now and if more people would do that and do it scared. That’s another hashtag I say, #DoItScared. Even if you are voice quivers and you are recording that video, do it anyways. Get your message and your values out there. I would love to leave that message for your audience, Don.
If somebody wants to reach out to you, Fanny, how will they do that?
I live and breathe on LinkedIn. Look up my name, @FannyDunagan, on LinkedIn. I’m the only Asian Dunagan out there. You will find me on LinkedIn creating posts and sharing content tips.
Reach out to Fanny Dunagan on LinkedIn. Thank you so much for joining us.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you, Don.
That’s our episode of The Proven Entrepreneur show with Fanny Dunagan. See you next time.
About Fanny Dunagan
Growing up in Canada as a Chinese immigrant, I was a shy and quiet kid. I didn’t dare speak up. Learning English as a Second Language (ESL) taught me the importance of communications, spelling and grammar.
A career in SAP change management consulting and corporate training taught me the importance of creating value for audiences and speaking up.
Now I’m on a mission to help others find their unique voice and brand. Everyone is born with a gift. Share your gifts. Share your message with the world through video.