In 1987, I was privileged to be part of a group of college students who worked with Adobe on the beta testing for Pagemaker, which would later expand into InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. It was the best introduction to computer graphic design that anyone could have asked for – built on a solid foundation of ‘old-school’ graphic design and advertising practices.
Starting in the advertising industry before computer software became standard has given me an edge: computers and design software are great tools, but at the end of the day, tools shouldn’t make or break a company’s success. Effective marketing and branding take thought, planning, and a hefty dose of creativity. Experience doesn’t hurt, either.
In the early part of my career, I managed marketing and advertising for several mid-sized companies and organizations. Then, about seventeen years ago, my boss told me I needed to find a daycare that stayed open later.
I had left work the night before and flown across town to get to my son’s daycare before they closed at 5:30, upset that Joseph (then three) would be the last one there, again. It had been three weeks since my husband, Paul, had graduated from college and accepted a job in Birmingham, coming home to Chattanooga on the weekends.
I had never missed a deadline at work. While my husband was in school, he picked up our son as soon as his nap was over – which allowed me to work as late as I needed, and I was often the last person out of the building each night. But with Paul in Birmingham, I could no longer stay at the office after we closed. Instead, I took work home and worked in the early mornings. I still put in the ‘time,’ just not at the office. Years before working from home became normal, my boss wanted to see me at my desk.
I had long dreamed of starting my own company. Months before, I had even put together a business plan. But I was absolutely terrified of going out on my own; I was still the main breadwinner in our family and didn’t want to risk our security.
That Tuesday, my boss’s ultimatum changed that.
I already didn’t like how long our son’s day was – even though we had an awesome daycare – and I wasn’t about to make it longer. That was the push I needed. I borrowed the money to cover our bills for three months. That Friday I turned in my two weeks’ notice.
Fortunately, in those two weeks I booked enough business that I was able to hit the ground running, and I’ve never looked back. Since 2001 I’ve helped countless business owners create ad campaigns, marketing strategies, logos and websites, and I still love what I do.
Well-done, effective marketing and advertising makes it much easier to sell your products and services. Marketing that brings your ideal customer to you – and sorts out the customers who aren’t a good fit – saves you time.
If you have a small to medium-sized business with a solid product or service, we’d love to talk to you. Whether your company needs an single ad campaign or an entire rebranding for your organization, my team and I will work with you to find the look and message that connects you with your target customer.
Owning your own business gives you a freedom that you absolutely cannot get any other way. It takes hard work, of course, and you have to put in the hours. Our job is to help you make sure those hours count.
Why name a company after a bird?
Several years before we started our company, we visited the beach at sunrise. We were the only ones crunching through the shells, until we came upon an older man with several fishing poles stuck in the sand.
About 20 feet away, a tall bird stood motionless – until the fisherman turned his back to cast. The bird took one large step forward and stopped, motionless again.
We stopped to watch. Every time the fisherman turned his back, the Great Blue Heron took a giant step forward and stopped. Soon, his ‘prey’ became clear: he was moving toward the fisherman’s bait bucket.
The heron was less than five feet from the bucket when the fisherman finally yelled, waving him away. “You got me once, but not today, Harry. Move along.” The heron moved back, but didn’t fly off. He had spotted his breakfast, and it was in that bucket.
Patience, determination and persistence while moving toward a defined goal. Isn’t that a good role model for a company?