Surround yourself with successful people that that believe in your passion and share the same drive.
With more than 30 years of global marketing and business development experience, Tompkins’ hands-on knowledge in the subscription space compounded with an undeniable passion for brain health, uniquely positions her as a trailblazer in the industry. Professional highlights and accomplishments include working for the Baltimore Orioles and AOL, founding her own marketing consultancy, StoryTelling LLC, and producing various marketing campaigns for major brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, Dewars and more. Offering a diverse skill set and a proven track record for developing powerful campaigns, digital programs and custom events, she works alongside her team in product development executing initiatives that position Senior Sleuths as one of the most innovative emerging brands among the aging adult market.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The genesis for creating Senior Sleuths stems from my father’s six-year illness and subsequent passing from Alzheimer’s. This, coupled with a short stint at a leading subscription company along with my 30+ year background in marketing and business development, gave me the impetus to bring my idea to life.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I focus my time in three areas; story development, product creation/execution and sales strategy. This is in addition to my role as VP of business development at Media Star Promotions, who is also a backer in the product and one of the nation’s top experiential marketing agencies.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am fortunate to have a team of extremely talented writers, art directors, product development specialists and strong marketers who work diligently to ensure that we have the best product to take to market. I am also a big believer in testing, feedback and improvement – so being able to work alongside our pilot-program communities and their residents to analyze the experiences and measure the effectiveness gave us the validation we needed to move into the launch phase. We will continue to do our pilot-program for each new story/experience that we roll-out.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The simple fact that 10,000 people turn 65 every day and are living longer healthier lives excites me tremendously. Our ability to help them continue to live life with a purpose provides abundant opportunities for our products.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My nickname is “Scrappy.” I am extremely resourceful and I don’t take “no” for an answer. I have grand visions and work expeditiously to make things come to fruition.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Just do it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think that my purebred Chinese Crested is the most beautiful dog in the world.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Test, Test and Test some more.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Dual-targeting the influencers and decision-makers across the senior living communities. We could have been short-sighted and only targeted one which would have left opportunities on the table. Furthermore, we were determined to create not a one-off, one-time activity, rather a full-blown, robust programming tool for seniors and activity directors to use to stimulate cognitive reserve and boost socialization. I believe when you’re able to think about the long game, you’re more apt to welcome brand loyalists into your community.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As an entrepreneur, I included too many people in the work on the initial experience. After a month or so, some self-attrited, others were cut from the team. It was a hard decision, but at the end of the day, it was what was right for the business and, ultimately, the success of the program.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Not only are 10,000 people turning 65 every day, but many are lonely and depressed. Developing products, services and solutions to turn this dark epidemic around will unequivocally be welcomed and, if done right, make you an entrepreneur, too.
I love the idea of exploring how to create a program or subscription that enables us to incorporate therapeutic activities that boost mood, increase the sense of belonging, provides motivation reminders and more. While I think there could be digital components to this, I see it more as tangible items you can touch, feel and incorporate into your living/work space – enabling you to be in tune with yourself without comparison and outside distraction.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Throwing a small wine and cheese thank you party for our #1 pilot-program group of residents at Avondell Senior Living in Bel Air MD. The smiles on their faces were worth a million dollars.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use Teamup. Each of our experiences includes close to 100 pieces; story, weekly activities, clues, ciphers, codes, personal items, and more. We are responsible for not only conceptualizing the items, but we also design and produce all items. Having a great shared calendar and scheduling software program is key to delivering all of the elements on time and within budget.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Memory Cure by Dr. Majid Fotuhi – you can never start too early educating yourself on how the brain works and what types of activities you can do throughout your life that can help stave off cognitive decline.
What is your favorite quote?
“Throw me to the wolves, I will return leading the pack.” Unknown author.
- Creating a product that you are passionate about gives you a head start
- Don’t take “no” for an answer
- Surround yourself with successful people that that believe in your passion and share the same drive
- Find a void in the market place and fill it
- You don’t get what you don’t ask for
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.