Laurel Mintz is the CEO and Founder of award-winning, Los Angeles-based digital marketing agency Elevate My Brand. Laurel’s gift is connecting with people and their stories. After all, companies are made up of people, and stories are just narratives that are the foundation of great marketing. Laurel’s energy has been the driving force behind the agency’s growth since it launched in 2009. Her awards include the 2017 Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award; 2016 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Company; Los Angeles Business Journal 2016 Women In Business Award; and more.
Where did the idea for Elevate My Brand come from?
In my twenties, I never would have predicted that I’d be running a successful marketing agency. At that point, I had just received my J.D. and M.B.A. and I was getting my start in the legal world with a myopic focus on the partner track. My plans quickly changed when my dad fell ill and I had to step in and run the family business. During that time, I learned about buying, merchandising, marketing, sales, advertising, you name it. When my dad recovered and I was able to step away, I was asked to consult for other retailers I had developed relationships with during the time I ran the showrooms. In 2007, I partnered up with a friend in San Francisco who ran a venture fund and we worked to put together projects for our clients and get them off the ground. It was really exciting.
A few years later, I was asked to be a founding member of the Los Angeles Consulting Group (LACG). That was a great partnership, but the firm was focused on financial services, so I exited and started Elevate My Brand. At that point, I realized what I was good at and, more importantly, what I wanted to do and for what kind of clientele.
Coming up with the name of my agency was really hard. I was working with several branding experts and you might not believe me when I say this but the name “Elevate My Brand” came to me in a dream. I woke up and I knew Elevate My Brand was going to be the name but I had to bring some meaning behind it. I looked up the word “elevate” and it means “to rise above, to raise up”. It’s a very positive and encouraging message. It really did connect what we were trying to do with the brands that we represent and support and who we are at our core as an agency.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
No day is ever the same especially in these strange days. I try to keep things as normal and operational as possible. For me personally that means waking up early, chugging a glass of water, then mainlining some coffee, writing in my gratitude journal, and moving my body. I usually don’t check my phone before I do those things so I can start my morning off right.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We have a unique rapid prototyping creative process at EMB. We all get in a room and brainstorm the craziest creative ideas for a project and then we vote together on the ones we think are most aligned with the client vision, budget and timeline. Then it’s about rapid velocity testing of creative on social channels before we do a full creative rollout. We are definitely a creative agency, but driven by metrics.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am loving the work from home vibes. I definitely don’t want to do it all of the time, but there’s something great about being able to do a load of laundry or cook a lasagna between meetings. I’m the ultimate multi-tasker and this really allows me to get so much more done in a day. It’s also taking a bit of the ego out of my agency because I’m realizing that I don’t need a huge fancy space to successfully run.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have this weird inner clock. It keeps me on time for everything even though the rest of the world usually isn’t. It’s so strange, I’ll be in a meeting and literally wrap things up within minutes of the hour scheduled. So I’m definitely a timing queen and that keeps me on track daily.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself that everything happens for a reason so don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ve been through a lot personally and professionally but if any one of those things hadn’t occurred I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I would definitely tell my younger self to breathe and believe in the universe, it’s got your back.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
People generally agree with me if they know what’s good for them 😉 Kidding, almost no one agreed multi-tasking is a thing but I really think I’m great at it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Laugh at yourself.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Have mentors or a board of advisors or directors who you can ask for help from. I think we get big egos as entrepreneurs and oftentimes that gets in the way of asking for the help we need to do our jobs more efficiently. There’s no shame in asking for help and being vulnerable.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had a tense year one year that I took out on a lot of my team. I owned it, and it ended up helping me to restructure things and move some of my team who had been with me too long onto better things for them. As I mentioned above, everything happens for a reason, this is a perfect example.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’d love for there to be a business where people come into your office or home and just pump you up, tell you how amazing you are and give you praise and love. I think for entrepreneurs we don’t often celebrate the wins and we are often on to the next idea, client, etc. It would be really cool to have a company that was dedicated to putting amazing positive energy into the world.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought a ring light and stand. It makes me look super professional on all my zoom calls, lives, etc. It’s a real game changer especially these days were we are all working from home.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We love love love brightpod. It’s an amazing project management software that gives me insights into my team’s activities and prioritizes work for all of us. It’s a game changer.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I just finished listening to The Law of Attraction which is an incredible and somewhat woo woo guru book on how to get what you want from the universe. It was very spiritual but had a lot of salient philosophies.
What is your favorite quote?
You don’t know what you don’t know.
- Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable it will get you further faster
- Having a strategy to attack the day is key to productivity
- Technology makes everything better so work smarter not harder
- The universe has your back so trust in it
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.