I’ve been an advocate for small business owners my whole life. I grew up in a small business family and learned how important it is for them to succeed. It’s my mission to help in any way that I can. When I started this business, I was so jazzed about this opportunity because it spoke directly to my personal mission and lifelong goal of helping small businesses succeed. My current business helps small business and local business owners micro-target an affluent marketplace; helping them establish a professional image and compete with major players. Our community magazine, Neighbors of North Dublin, started with the theme “bringing people together”. This idea of connections is important to me spiritually as well as business wise. The back story on how I got into this began when I realized I had stayed in my previous profession (25 years) longer than I probably ought to have. For one thing, I didn’t know what else I wanted to do. Certainly, there were environmental aspects that changed my business in ways that took it away from my mission. However, I was responsible in part for “killing the goose that laid the Golden Egg”. Let me explain, because I had great cash flow from my core business, I focused time and energy in start-up businesses. One of those businesses is now going really well and provides great intrinsic reward in terms of number of people employed and its contribution to the economy. But it took a toll. Now I am focused on building a business that will run without me as I get older. I have changed my involvement in the magazine to focus more on the writing part of it and have passed off some of the other things to other people. I’m currently looking for an account executive to take over the sales part that I am not that good at. The magazine is the first leg of My Third Career. I’m expanding from that to get into other areas of writing which will be the second and third legs of my new business.
My target customers are small and local businesses. The best ones are professionals who recognize the value in content marketing, and trades people who specialized or stepped out on their own to do what they do in a manner that upholds their own values. These are the salt-of-the earth folks I love to help.
Greatest impact of COVID-19 on business
The biggest positive impact is that it caused us to pivot and learn how to do business virtually. Simultaneously, it put the fear of reduced cash flow in businesses, so, owners were more careful investing in their businesses and more concerned about survival and feeding their families.
Actions taken to differentiate business
Micro-marketing with a reach to affluent homeowners was my differentiator for the publishing effort. It’s unusual for a publication to be so locally oriented. Most publications boast their large circulations. We concentrate on going to an audience that needs and wants your product and can generally afford what you do. We take the waste out of distribution and pass the savings onto the business sponsors.
Actions taken to make a difference during this pandemic
I continued to do sales presentations, but I did them via link. It was fresh, and it was different, and people were willing to look. It was extremely helpful. We also put some unprecedented incentives in to help new sponsors take the step into micro-targeting.
Biggest learnings since been in business
If I had to boil it down to the biggest lesson, it is authenticity. Be yourself, to have integrity and humility, and treat other people the way you would want to be treated. With 46% more in revenue If 46% more revenue if that were to happen this year, I would invest in more employees, take a weekend away, and give myself a raise.
What inspires me today are good storytellers. I think a really big inspiration for me yesterday was listening to that 22-year-old poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, that performed at the inauguration…she was a fireball…and that was inspiring to me. I would love to have a copy of that poem and see what else she has written. Every day, I get a lot of comfort, inspiration, and direction from the Holy Bible and communing with people who know the Word.
Goals for this year
My biggest goal is to test out my pro forma budget and see if it has any semblance to reality. I want to find 10 prospective buyers to have conversations with about the work I provide. One of my personal drivers is to provide meaningful employment to disabled veterans and people who can’t leave home for whatever reason.
Location: Midwest / Central Ohio