What is the first thing you did to turn your current business from an idea into a reality?
We started our business while we had full-time jobs. The first thing we did was test the waters by working on the business on nights and weekends and networking as much as we could. As a social media agency, we needed case studies to attract other clients. After we had a few paying clients, we felt comfortable taking the leap, and we quit our jobs to start Socialfly full time.
What is the scariest part of being a young entrepreneur and how can others overcome this fear?
The scariest part was leaving behind the regular paycheck and benefits. As an entrepreneur, there is no guarantee. I overcame this fear by saving money while I was working so that I had a bit of a cushion. I also gave my self a timeframe for how long I would pursue starting an agency without income.
Were you ever told not to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams? Who told you that, what did they say and why did you ignore them?
No one ever told me not to pursue my dreams, but I think people were confused about why I would leave a great job and career path to start something new. At the time, I was confident that it was the perfect time to take that risk and try something new. I was excited by the opportunity.
What is the No. 1 thing you wish you’d known starting out and how did you learn it?
I wish I had learned to research whether or not a company name is trademarked. We had to change our name a year into the business and it cost us a lot of time and money. Had we known this originally, we would have picked a name that was not already taken.
What do you recommend all new founders do for their business — or their personal lives — that will help them the most?
Try to take time for yourself. When you first start your company, it’s easy to work around the clock and burn out quickly. Taking time off is important to regroup and refresh.
How do you end each day and why?
I try to end each day by reflecting and meditating. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and lose sight of how far you have come. It is important to take a step back and be grateful for everything you accomplished or learned that day.
What is your best PR/marketing tip for business just starting up?
Social media and PR have been instrumental in pushing our business forward. Since day one, we made an effort to focus on doing this for ourselves and it has paid off. We are now on the first page of Google for the keywords “social media agency NYC,” and a lot of new clients have discovered us this way. We have been guest blogging on other credible sites, which has helped improved our search ranking. We also post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+ daily.
What is your ultimate goal? What will you do if/when you get there?
The ultimate goal is to continue to grow the company and build out an executive management team. When we get there, I will take an extended vacation!
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.