No matter what your business is, you will have to deal with people. The better you are at it, the more you get done, the happier everyone is, the more opportunities you create and the more money you can make.
With over 12 years of marketing and creative experience with local, national and global clients, Anya’s
passion is to use strategy, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking to drive real, measurable marketing results. Becoming an entrepreneur of a creative agency has been one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences of her life. Her passion is to work alongside corporate marketing professionals and uncover a more meaningful purpose behind their brand (what she calls a #RallyPoint) then help them share it with the world, through strategy, marketing, branding, design, social media, web design or digital marketing. She believes success is when your target audience becomes raving fans and lifelong advocates and customers.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I wish I could say I had a brilliant idea or moving experience that gave me the idea to start my company. The reality is that it all happened organically, over time. I began to receive freelance work while working a fulltime job and eventually, my freelance grew large enough to pay my bills. That’s when I started to realize I had an amazing opportunity to start a successful, thriving business.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My role in my company has changed over the years, from being the sole designers to one of a CEO and art director of a talented team of designers, developers, writers, and marketers. Now, I spend most of my time running the business, managing team members and selling our services. I ask myself these questions each morning:
1) What’s my goal for today? (This is usually the most important thing I need to focus on for that day)
2) What are my top 3–5 priorities? (I rank these in order from 1 to 5 and tackle them in order)
3) What else do I need to get done? (I make a list of all the other random, little things I need to do so I don’t lose track of them. Then as I complete my top priorities each day, these gradually move up the list into the priority spots.)
As we grew into a larger organization, I found the need for a better way to manage all of our projects. I now use project management software, like Asana, to organize all of our tasks and projects across teams, clients and internally.
How do you bring ideas to life?
At heart, I am a creative who loves to think outside the box. I like to go to a quiet, inspiring place with a notebook and brainstorm ideas. Then, I take the best of those ideas and build on it with quality research–gathering thoughts, ideas, examples etc. I also talk to friends, colleagues and respected people in my life to try out these ideas and leverage their expertise. Finally, I make a plan on how to bring it to life and follow this plan. I set small daily or weekly goals as well as larger milestones. After all, you can have the best idea in the world, but if you never make a plan and do something every day to get it done, all it will ever be is an idea.
What’s one trend that excites you?
ADA website compliance excites me. This is becoming a hot marketing topic, one which I feel is very important. Websites are a digital expression and extension of your business and your brand. Shouldn’t they be accessible to all?
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I make a to-do list each day and follow it, with my highest priorities at the top and lowest at the bottom.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to lighten up and realize that there’s no such thing as perfection.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That I’m a good business owner. Sometimes I lack confidence in my abilities or feel I’m not good enough. My mentors, friends, and family sometimes have to remind me that although I’m not perfect and have a lot to learn, I’m doing ok.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I pivot almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. As the owner of a small business, I’m constantly looking at the business, how things are working, sales, services, people etc and pivoting direction as needed to keep things moving, thriving and profitable. Sometimes it can be easy to be complacent, too comfortable or stagnant. This can hurt your business, your people and your sales.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Perseverance and consistency are key.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
At the beginning of my business, I had a business partner. We didn’t have a contract or clearly defined business relationship. This eventually caused problems and hurt our relationship. In the end, it was irreconcilable, and we parted ways. This ended up being the best thing for both of us in the end.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Helping the elderly do tasks around the home. A team of skilled helpers who love people could really make a difference and grow a solid business. Services would include handyman, gardening, cleaning, driving, organizing or cooking. The key is to build a solid client list of elderly who need regular help.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
We pay a person to clean our home and it’s the best $120 dollars we spend because of our opportunity cost. Both my husband and I own businesses and are very busy. We can earn more working during the 3 hours it takes her to clean our home. So, it’s better to pay someone else to do it and to earn money instead of trying to save it by doing it ourselves.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Asana. It’s a project management software and has been great for my business. I can manage different teams, assign tasks, check progress, make sure everyone’s on the same page, track all of the many projects going on at one time and more. It’s been a lifesaver.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How to Win Friends and Influence People. No matter what your business is, you will have to deal with people. The better you are at it, the more you get done, the happier everyone is, the more opportunities you create and the more money you can make.
What is your favorite quote?
“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” – Simon Sinek
• To be productive, make a prioritized to–do list, then start doing
• There’s no such thing as perfection
• Perseverance and consistency is key to a successful business
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.