9-5 to CEO: How I Accidentally Started My Business…and Grew It

In 2012 I was a waitress.

From 2013 to 2014, I was working multiple internships to put myself through college.

By 2015, I was a college graduate who accidentally started a business. 

Going into 2020, I’m the owner and CEO of a marketing consultancy with a payroll. 

My business started when I was approached by a few individuals I knew from previous internships who needed small tasks completed. Ghostwriting, some social media help, and simple website design. 

I was bored outside of my marketing 9-5 and said, “Sure! I can help!” From there, word spread, and I found myself juggling anywhere from 4-5 clients on a monthly retainer outside of my regular job. 

In 2016, I took a phone call from a former boss who offered me a contract position working for one of the biggest marketing operations in our nation’s history. (Buy me a drink, and I’ll tell you all about it.) 

I gained confidence and grew leaps and bounds because of that contract, and I’m forever grateful for it – along with the agency positions I was able to take afterward. 

This amount of experience allowed me to take what was just a handful of clients…to almost ten times what I originally had in 2015. 

Almost five years later, I registered for an official LLC, hired an accountant, and now have a team that works with me to establish winning content and marketing strategies for businesses, brands, and charitable organizations.

Had I been asked if I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I was younger, I would have laughed. I never thought that it was something I would want to do – or that I’d even be good at – but I stumbled into it literally because of a few LinkedIn messages years ago. 

I’ve been able to work remotely and live as a #digitalnomad, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I attribute these aspects to the growth and success of my business and would suggest them to any aspiring entrepreneur or business owner.

Push yourself. 

Be willing to put yourself out there. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started, but had I not been willing to face this venture early on, I probably never would have started.

Work more than 40 hours a week until you don’t have to.

At my busiest, I’ve worked 100 hour weeks and a “slow” week is somewhere around 60 hours. Even on some holidays, I check my email and try to knock out smaller tasks. Even if I’m on vacation, I’ll check in with my team in the evenings and am available. It’s hard to not completely unplug – especially when I want a break – but it’s not always an option. “Busyness” as a status symbol annoys me and going into 2020, I’m working on being better about balancing my life.

Learn how to delegate.

In late 2018, I realized that I needed help if I wanted to really grow. So, I hired incredibly smart and talented people. I “let go,” in a sense, and learned how to delegate and divide and conquer so I could better serve my clients and grow my business. 

Listen to your clients.

I listen! It’s one of the most valuable qualities I bring to my clients. Most of the time, the problems they “think” they have with their marketing or overall media strategy isn’t exactly what they need to be successful. 

Network and do all you can to grow.

I’m naturally more introverted, but as the saying goes, “you don’t grow in your comfort zone.” I’m thankful for networking organizations in Indianapolis and around the world that allow me to meet with like-minded, entrepreneurial people who push me to be my best self. 

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  • For someone who’s said, “yeah I’m not afraid of color” at least five times this week, I sure do wear a lot of black 🤨🖤 Throwing it back to one of the last times I got dressed up before COVID-19 – judging Indiana’s Distinguished Young Woman Scholarship Program with a messed up shoulder. (At least my sling matched my outfit, because fashion.) What’s your “signature” color??
  • I'm excited to be a featured speaker on America's Future Foundation's virtual panel, "The Economic Impacts of Covid-19." ⠀
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How will this pandemic, and subsequent government actions taken to combat it, affect economic prospects going forward? Myself; Romina Boccia, Director of the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at the Heritage Foundation; and Dr. Orphe Divounguy, the chief economist at the Illinois Policy Institute, will share our insights on how small businesses, jobs, the national deficit, and your wallet will be affected by the battle against the coronavirus.⠀
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Many of my clients have been affected by this pandemic and if you/your business has been affected too, would you share how you've been impacted as I prepare my statements?⠀
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(Feel free to drop a comment or message me privately; I'm interested in data and/or anecdotes but won't share names unless you say it's okay!)⠀
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Participation is free and I hope you'll join us this Thursday from 7-8 p.m. EST! All are welcome; registration for the event is at the #linkinbio
  • Dreaming about one of my favorite places ✨
Grateful to have had the ability to travel so much last year, but it feels very strange to not have the ability to buy a plane ticket right now. (Especially because prices are so low!!) Where do you want to go once the COVID-19 crisis passes? Seeing my family in California is on the top of my list! #havefaith ✈️🙏
  • Somewhat time-consuming things to do while in #quarantine: ⠀
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1. File your taxes (the deadline was extended to July 15, halleluiah!)⠀
2. Get to "inbox zero" in all of your email inboxes ⠀
3. Declutter your fridge, closets, and cupboards ⠀
4. Take inventory of your monthly expenses, cut unnecessary spending, make a budget & stick to it ⠀
5. Write 5-star Facebook, Yelp, and Google Business reviews for your favorite small businesses/restaurants
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(My goal is to finish all five by Friday.) What else would you add to this list?
  • I have the best/worst quarantine buddy....Lucky we’re in love 🤪❤️ #pickupafteryourself #quarantineandchill #engagementphotos
  • 🦀 A friend of mine shared this analogy with me yesterday. When you have a bucket of crabs, what happens when one crab starts to climb out? The others start to pull down the crab "on top" so that they can help themselves up to get out of the bucket. The same thing happens in life. There will always be "crabs" who try to pull you down whenever they see you doing something to get yourself out of the "bucket." Only run towards "crabs" if they're on a plate and slathered in butter, mkay friends? 🦀
  • Sorry not sorry for more engagement photo spam. Blogged a bunch more over on ChloeAnagnos.com 💕#linkinbio
  • According to a study by H&R Block, 66 percent of millennials have no idea when taxes are due. (Hint: April 15!) ⠀
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Preparing taxes is overwhelming, annoying, and just downright stressful, but I’ve learned some tips and tricks that help me make sure I’m not paying one cent more than necessary.⠀
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I wrote, "Get Independent: Tax Filing Tips for Millennials," for @affnetwork two years ago, but it's still as relevant as ever this tax season. Read more at the #linkinbio ⠀
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So...who's filed already? 🤪
  • Dancing through life with my Valentine. ❤️
Photo: @tessatillettrobbins_photo 
Dress: @ashleyrenes 
Venue: @laurelhallindy 
MUA: @lesliehairandmakeup
  • “He looked at her the way all women want to be looked at by a man.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Photo: @tessatillettrobbins_photo 
Dress: @ashleyrenes 
Venue: @laurelhallindy 
MUA: @lesliehairandmakeup
Headpiece: @etsy
  • I couldn’t come up with a concept for our engagement photos at all. Clothes, colors, location, nothing. Kyle came up with this Old Hollywood/Gatsby vision that is completely *us* and I love it. Thank you so much, Tessa for making it all come to life! ✨✨✨
Photo: @tessatillettrobbins_photo 
Dress: @ashleyrenes 
Venue: @laurelhallindy 
MUA: @lesliehairandmakeup
  • Colombia, you are perfect.

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