I frequently get asked questions about starting and running a business, as well as to share advice with other business leaders. Recently, while responding to a publication’s interview questions for an article, it dawned on me that we all have stories to share. And, from the experiences in our stories, we’re able to give advice to others. Mine happens to involve my business, Break Ice Marketing. It has been a journey worth sharing. So, sit back and enjoy the story.
How my story began -
Once upon a time, if you had told me that I’d one day have my own business, I would have replied with, “no way.” It was just not something that I had ever thought about doing. I loved marketing and managing multiple brands. I enjoyed leading projects with the ad agencies that I partnered with, and I appreciated the stability that came from having a corporate job.
However, as time went on, my job evolved to leading a corporate marketing team that managed eight brands. In a sense, we had become an internal marketing and branding agency, supporting the various product teams. I loved the diversity of marketing different brands and products, but I decided that I wanted to broaden the range of what I marketed. So, I decided to start a marketing and branding agency that would support multiple companies.
Leaving the financial security of the "corporate world" was perhaps the scariest thing that I have ever done. Not only did I leave a six-figure income, but in a strange way, I felt that I had also given up a part of my identity. During the two decades leading up to this, there had been many days that I was in the office more than I was at home. Now, I suddenly had no office to go to and the overwhelming task of creating a business and making it a success.
Looking back, I realize that I would have never made the "jump" if it hadn't of been for the encouragement of my supportive husband, family and friends. More than that, I feel that it was God who led me to exit the road that I had been on, and guided me to where I am now.
While I had years of marketing experience, I was completely stepping out of my comfort zone by doing something that I had never done before. But, it’s amazing what we, humans, are capable of. Once I had resigned from my prior job, there was no turning back. I had to make this work. So, I prayed, researched and planned.
I spent hours researching everything that I needed to know about setting up a business and brainstorming for the perfect company name. I wanted a name that was creative and had meaning. We became Break Ice Marketing.
Every business and job, for that matter, has challenges. After I decided to start Break Ice Marketing, my primary concern was getting clients. Although I ended up getting clients relatively quickly, those first few months of preparing and waiting were perhaps the hardest. I would be lying if I said that thoughts of "did I do the right thing?" did not occasionally pass through my mind.
But, luckily, I did not have to wait too long for those first few clients to come in. And, once they started coming, others quickly followed. As a result, my team began to grow, which allowed me to further expand and to better serve my existing clients.
The story continues -
Break Ice Marketing is comprised of a team of talented strategists, designers and developers. We've developed marketing strategies, managed social media, created websites, email campaigns, branding, marketing collateral and much more for a wide-range of industries including; credit unions, insurance, health & fitness, therapy, law, office furniture and dental.
While we are known for providing nearly any type of marketing and branding support, our specialty is creative strategy. We thrive on coming up with solutions for nearly any type of challenge and business. This includes helping organizations create strong and effective branding, and developing and executing marketing strategies for companies to increase leads and sales.
It’s sometimes a challenge forcing myself to leave the office. I truly love my job, and in a way, it almost feels like a hobby. While sometimes deadlines and pressing "to do's" call me back into the office after-hours, I also enjoy what I do, so I sometimes find myself returning to work at the end of the day or on the occasional weekend because it just "seems like a fun thing to do."
I thank God every day for giving me the courage to start Break Ice Marketing. I love all aspects of my job – my clients, projects, the challenges and opportunities. I’m thankful that I have this story to share.
My advice for all business leaders -
Never allow yourself (or business) get too comfortable. Most success happens outside of the comfort zone.
If you feel strongly about something, find a way to make it happen. That inner voice is more powerful that you think.
If something doesn’t “feel” right, then it probably isn’t. Seek the solution – even if it’s hidden.