Reflections of a Leaping Entrepreneur

Seven years ago this week, I took a leap of faith and quit my cushy job at the House of Blues.  I was the head of  strategic marketing for the venues which at the time included eight clubs and over 20 concert arenas.  It was a great job and I enjoyed working there for several years surrounded by some amazing people with whom I still remain close to today.   Most people would not have walked away as I did. After all, I had survived three rounds of layoffs since the great dot-com bust of 2000.  But while most people saw demise of an industry, I saw opportunity.  Many of my colleagues were being laid off yet most companies still had the same work that had to be done and outsourcing was becoming very widespread. So why not outsource that to me?

Together with a recently laid off HOB colleague, we started our own marketing consulting company. The funny thing was every time we met with a client, they were confusing marketing with P.R. (at the time, P.R. was still very much about media outreach and begging for coverage.) So we decided we would be a P.R. company, why not?

By 2005 my partner and I had broken off into my own small companies, each concentrating our better strengths.  It has been an amazing ride, I must say.  In the beginning I was so scared, yet it was always a great scared.  I felt empowered even when I was broke.  With no steady paycheck I have depended on my clients paying me in a timely fashion, which sometimes is not so timely.  I have had several holidays with no cash (clients tend to hold off on payments around that time of the year) but it’s never been so bad I felt like giving up.

I have been reflecting all this week as it’s my anniversary and I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished. A good friend asked me over lunch last week what surprised me most about this journey and I listed these:

  • The fact that I am actually good at this
  • That I am doing it alone without a partner
  • The list of things I still want to conquer (such as speaking, writing, etc.)
  • How much fun I am having, still

Have you taken a leap of faith? What has surprised you about your journey?

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The Business of Being Creative

Just discovered this blog, thanks to my fab client, Amy Child Marella of The Hidden Garden. If you are super Right Brain like me, then you will enjoy this blog. Sean Low is an expert who helps creative types run their businesses bettre (that is sooo me!)

Check out The Business of Being Creative, subscribe and let me know what you think.

My Job is Merging with my Lifestyle – What’s not to Love?

Seriously, I have been loving working for myself and cannot believe it’s been almost 7 years since I took the big leap & opened Starfish P.R! Can you imagine anyone giving up a steady paycheck at one of the most beloved live music brands? The best part of my job is the fast changing opportunities to make a difference for my clients. The worst part, convincing said clients to abandon old thinking and embrace new media. But hey, I do love a challenge!

I have lived in South Redondo Beach for over 10 years and lately I’ve been picking up some local clients, which has been very gratifying. It’s all been word-of-mouth, who knows, I could become the Redondo PR Queen! Everyone who lives down here supports our local business owners, they make our town what it is. Last October I began a digital strategy for a new sushi restaurant called Sushi Gone Wild. Since then business has grown tremendously and because if it, customers (other local biz owners) have begun asking for my card. I can’t take all the credit, after all Mr. Kim is a character who is loved by locals and the sushi rocks, I am just helping people find that out.

This week I began working with a local gym called Riviera Fitness. This is a great company that’s just not connected with the locals yet…which I will make my mission to do of course. It doesn’t hurt that I love to eat Sushi and now have a really beautiful gym to work out in! Who would’ve thought the kid with the million dollar motabolism who lived on McDonalds in her 20s now eats well and works out…crazy.

I truly hope this local love I am getting continues and that I can make a difference for these small biz owners as well as turn my neighbors onto some great new places! No real point to this blog post today, I am just feeling great about my job and thought I’d share. The beach has always been my higher power, and now it’s my revenue generator too…awesome! Hope you all have a day of greatness! (Every day.)

The Beautiful Fruits (and Flowers) of our Labor

I have had the pleasure of working with Amy Child Marella for many years.  We first met in 1996 while working at MCA Records and our friendship has blossomed (punn intended) into a successful working partnership and this week we are celebrating!  As Amy’s friend, I know she’s special, but as her publicist, I have to prove it.  In 2007, I approached Amy about blogging.  She is never resistant to anything I throw at her, but she was completely unsure of how to blog. Lucky for me, she trusts me and bought in that it must be beneficial.

So we launched The Secret Life of Flowers and with our help (a little nudgeing for topics, and some editing) she was a blogger.  Within a few weeks, Amy had completely taken it over and we would arrive at work to discover her postings from the night before. Before long, new clients and colleagues were commenting on her blog when they came to her shop, she was reading blog books and giving us pointers and I now had a useful tool as an extra push in media outreach.

So here we are in 2009 and she has been flooded with media requests lately – including a serious inquiry about a possible TV show.  Wow.  I can’t tell you how proud and excited I am to see all of Amy’s hard work & talent pay off…and I am not just talking about her blog btw. 

Last year in June, during a trip to NY, I was asked what we’d like to promote and I believe I said something like “Amy’s new show, premiering next year.” 

Moral of the story…P.R. and social media take time. You are making an investment, not in my success as a publicist, but in your success.  The more you put in, the more you get out of it.  Be real. Be consistent. And be ready for the payoff!

If I Had All The Time in the World

I just came across a great post by Rich over at ComicbyComic.com titled “If I Had all the Time in the World” and I loved it.  It inspired me to write my own, what a great idea!

If I had all the time in the world, I’d:

  • Walk my dogs twice a day
  • Exercise more
  • Blog here more
  • Read more books
  • Tweet more
  • Cook great meals for dinner (not every night because I have to eat Sushi a few times a week)
  • Call my friends for no particular reason
  • I’d shower, shave and do my hair every day
  • I’d have launched www.SwapShoppe.net months ago as planned
  • Help all my friends and colleagues with their p.r. and marketing
  • I’d spend more time with my husband where I am not sort of listening while on Twitter

What a nice dream!

Do Those Who Work Together Stay Together?

Yesterday, I became a team player.  The economy is tanking and we all have to make serious adjustments to survive, not the least of us are the entrepreneurs like my husband and me.  I run a PR company, he owns a flooring business.

For months we have discussed my moving into his building where I would get much needed office space and he would have extra support for phones, bookkeeping, etc.  So we decided to do it and now I’ve been there 2 days.

I have to say, it’s been great so far and I feel like I am working even harder than before…not that I slacked at home because I did not.

The only challenge I am facing now is shutting off work and just being home.  Example, I am on the computer now blogging at 8:00 at night and I could just be chilling with these cute dogs that missed me all day.  Well, I will chill w/ the puppies when this blog is done.

So after 2 days, I feel confident that my business will actually thrive at the new office and I am looking forward to taking my business to new levels while supporting my husband’s business and helping him find some way to relax a little more.  Win Win I say!