by Melissa Harrison | Featured Contributor
Before we get too far into the year, I thought it would be a good idea to let you know a little bit more about me and my “ah-ha!” moment that led me to quitting my job and starting my business.
By day, I am a full-time business owner of Allee Creative, a branding and marketing company in the Twin Cities. By nights, weekends and everything in between, I am a mother of four and a part-time fitness instructor.
We’re all busy.
When I started my journey into adulthood, I thought I would land in corporate America and work my way up the ladder doing something in marketing (I did always know I would end up in this field. I was that girl in high school that took every marketing elective class available and got unnaturally excited about DECA competitions). But after awhile, it dawned on me that all of the time I spent playing “house” or “school” or “work” (yes, I was the kid who “played” work) when I was growing up meant something: I liked to be in control and I liked to be the idea person.
And so, it just so happened, that on a particular bad day as the director of communications (at an organization that was a very wrong fit), I called my husband up and said, “This is it. I’m quitting my job today and I’m finally going to start my own business.”
I was 27 years old.
I didn’t have a back-up plan.
Now, I’m not advocating you up and quit your job (it was stressful; we had a two year old at home and I was pregnant with baby #2 at the time) but I DO advocate for doing what feels right and pursing your dreams.
I am so glad I did.
Just do it
We were the first in our group of friends to start having kids. And it’s not that our friends didn’t want kids, it was more that they fell back on excuses like, “We just want to be sure our finances are lined up,” or “We want to be sure we’ll have enough time,” or “We need a bigger house before we start a family.” And while I understand that completely, those are all valid points, sometimes you just have to jump in and do it.
The same holds true when starting (or going full-force) with your business.
Sure, we all know that business plans are crucial and that you need a stellar brand strategy, website, visual identity, etc., etc. but unless you jump in and start, it’s never going to happen.
Was I scared? Completely.
Did I have any idea what we were going to do for money in that first year? Nope, not a clue.
(Good thing at least one of us has full-time pay while I started this crazy adventure! Thanks, honey.)
But you know what? Starting with that little bit of fear gave me the push I needed to drive results and build my company up to where it is today. Eight years later, little ol’ me who up and quit her job without even one full-time client to pay the bills, now has a staff of 4, clients nationwide and a revenue stream that has more than quadrupled in the past two years. I didn’t have any fancy angel funding (unless you count the $203 I had in my savings to run a few business cards with). But I believed in myself and had a great support system who believed in me, too.
I’m here to tell you it can be done. There are going to be days where you want to give up.
Take a break and regroup. Remember why you wanted to start your business in the first place. Use that as your motivation to keep going. Be true to yourself (and your business) and put in 110% so that you can get out 110% at the end of the day.
You got this.
Melissa Harrison – Marketing and Small Business Executive from Allee Creative, Twin Cities, MN
Melissa Harrison , CEO and founder of Allee Creative, LLC , has more than 13 years of experience in content management, marketing strategy and branding, working with small to mid-sized businesses to build strategic online content and traditional marketing strategies.
Listed as one of the “Top 36 Content Marketers Who Rock” by TopRank and Content Marketing Institute, Melissa believes that businesses must adapt to what customers want, which includes using social media and creative online content to provide relevant, consistent information, in order to survive. It is no longer business as usual and only the companies that strive to embrace change will remain relevant.
Melissa is also a four-time recipient of the Hermes Creative Award and a national speaker on the topics of branding, content marketing, marketing strategy and social media. Melissa is also certified by Google Analytics Academy in Digital Analytics Fundamentals.
In addition to her professional life, Melissa is a mother of four, a certified fitness instructor an avid reader. If you look up “insane multi-tasker” in the dictionary you’ll most definitely find her picture. Melissa is forever pushing the envelope, starting her company when she was pregnant with her second child at the young age of 27 years old. Named a “Mover & Shaker” by the Star Tribune, she’s fought with the “big boys” for her spot at the table and continues to challenge herself each day.