Step out of your comfort zone because wonderful things can happen. Don’t be so focused on your career that you ignore your personal life.
Lisa Masiello is the founder and Chief Marketing Officer at TECHmarc Labs, Inc., a B2B strategic marketing firm focused exclusively on driving sales growth in the technology industry. The company offers strategic communications, marketing execution, reseller channel development, and acquisition integration to Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Cloud Solution Providers (CSP), Value Added Resellers (VARs), and other IT service providers.
Prior to founding TECHmarc Labs, Lisa held marketing leadership positions at technology start-ups and some of the Fortune 500 for over 25 years. Her innovative and results driven marketing initiatives have been recognized by Microsoft, Citrix, Oracle, and McAfee.
In addition to running her business, Lisa writes and publishes articles on business growth, marketing strategy, and IT channel development. She enthusiastically donates her time to non-profit organizations including the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) where she is the chair of the New Hampshire Business Center advisory board. As one of the country’s largest business and entrepreneurship centers, CWE provides economic empowerment, education, training, resources and connections to women across New England who are interested in starting their own business. Lisa also participates in Advancing Women in Technology initiatives including volunteering at Girls in STEM events.
When not immersed in marketing strategy, entrepreneurship or the latest technology trends, you will find Lisa studying a map of the world, trying to decide where to go next. She is an avid traveler and has the most fun when visiting new countries with family and friends.
Where did the idea for TECHmarc Labs come from?
For much of my career, I ran the marketing departments of large B2B technology companies with global reach and lots of resources. We worked closely with technology vendors like Microsoft and others to drive sales growth through our direct sales teams and channel partners.
In 2007, I joined a small hosting provider as employee #11 and, over the next 7 years, found myself in the middle of the cloud computing and SaaS revolutions. MSPs, VARs and systems integrators were all eager to ride this wave, but many did not have the time or staff needed to proactively market their solutions.
That’s where the idea for TECHmarc Labs came in. I utilize the knowledge and expertise I have acquired over two decades to act as their marketing partner. Their outsourced marketing department so to speak. We develop their marketing strategy, execute on the tactics and drive leads so they can focus their efforts on closing more sales.
TECHmarc Labs is a different type of marketing firm. Many firms say they focus on the technology vertical. However, very few of them are run by or have employees who actually worked for technology companies. We have been in the trenches driving successful marketing campaigns for leading technology providers and are intimately familiar with how the industry works, the specific needs of B2B clients, and what marketing messages resonate with different decision makers.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am an early riser. Real early. Usually 4:30am. I have my first cup of coffee and breakfast and take a quick look through emails that have come in since I went to bed because most of my clients are in other time zones. I have 5:00am exercise actually written into my calendar, but I frequently find an excuse to do something work related instead (I know that’s bad and need to make exercise a priority).
I do a lot of writing for clients, blog posts and industry trade publications so, since my most productive time is in the morning, you will find me at my desk writing until about 11:00am. The afternoon usually consists of a lot of smaller projects and responding to email that came in throughout the morning.
I stay productive by adding everything to my calendar. Writing it down keeps me on track and makes me feel accountable for whatever is in print.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Often, ideas remain ideas because people are uncertain how to begin. They become paralyzed, not doing anything because they don’t know how to move forward. Break your idea down into smaller milestones and even smaller tasks. Educating yourself and then completing one task gives you the confidence to complete the next one. Tackle one at a time until you gain the expertise to bring your idea to life.
Don’t be afraid that you will look foolish or uninformed if you ask questions. I have found that when I discuss my challenges with others who have been down this road before me, they freely share their knowledge and insights and are happy to introduce me to other people who may also be able to help. I do the same whenever anyone asks me questions. Remember, we’re all in this together.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Fog computing. The Internet of Things will not take off in a big way until edge devices and the cloud converge.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I became more productive after I started scheduling client calls or meetings on two or three specific days of the week – usually Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Prior to doing this, I would find myself working on a large project for one hour and then I had to put it aside for an hour to participate in a client call. I would then go back to the project, but it would take time to regain the momentum I had earlier. The meeting interruptions throughout the day were not conducive to increased productivity.
Although days with back to back meetings or calls can seem long, they free me up on the other days of the week to be able to concentrate on specific projects for extended periods of time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Three things: Nothing will ever end up being as bad as you think. Step out of your comfort zone because wonderful things can happen. Don’t be so focused on your career that you ignore your personal life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
6:00am is the best time of day. Grab a big cup of coffee and enjoy the sunrise.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I try to live by the famous Woody Allen quote that says “80% of success is just showing up.”
What I mean by this is that everything that comes along – an invitation to write a blog post, attend a cocktail reception, participate in a virtual event, join a meetup group – is an opportunity. These opportunities can come in all sorts of forms, from places you least expect and provide you with unforeseen benefits.
Don’t minimize something because you don’t think it’s relevant or you have more important things to do. You never know where your next idea will come from, who you will meet, what you will learn or when a business opportunity will appear. I cannot tell you how many times I pushed myself to do something that I wasn’t very excited about, or for which I was convinced I was wasting my time. I decided to “just show up” and amazing things began to happen.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Three words: Never Burn Bridges. You never know if someone from your past will pop up again on your journey through life. They might be able to provide you with advice and insights, introduce you to people who could help your business grow or they could become a customer.
I still have relationships with people I worked with 15 or 20 years ago. When I call or email them, I am honored and proud that they quickly respond.
As you move through your career, you don’t know if a former colleague or boss is going to come back into your life and what a positive impact they could have, so never burn those bridges.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Getting into a business partnership for the wrong reason. I did not have the confidence to strike out on my own so when a former colleague reached out and asked me to become their business partner, I was flattered and jumped at the opportunity.
I quickly learned that they knew very little about the business and the market and were looking to me to pick up the pieces and lead the charge. The business did not succeed.
I learned that it was not the end of my journey as an entrepreneur and I was stronger than I thought. I did have the ability to develop my own opportunities and build my own business rather than waiting around for someone else to invite me to their party.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
This is probably not the type of idea you are looking for and it certainly is not new but sometimes we need to be reminded of it. The internet and cloud technology has helped to level the playing field for aspiring entrepreneurs. Anyone who is driven and has a passion for something can create a free website and start a business. No more excuses. Get out there and do it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Custom sneakers. They help me keep going on my travel adventures. No foot pain means more sightseeing.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
SEMrush – It is a digital marketing tool that is a one stop shop for SEO, PPC, keyword research, competitive analysis, social media, and more. I particularly like it for SEO and keyword research.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Ask yourself this question, “What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
What is your favorite quote?
Here are three:
“If you can’t pay it back, pay it forward.” – Catherine Ryan Hyde
“Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.” – John Wooden
“It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” – Eddie Cantor
• Being generous with your knowledge, expertise and time will come back tenfold.
• Entrepreneurship is the best thing for pushing you beyond your comfort zone.
• Just show up and amazing things will begin to happen.
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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.