Carrollwood mom Jessica Kingsborough wanted a job where she could combine her organization and event planning skills, with the creativity of marketing and sales that she loved so much.
With the support of her husband Jonny, Jessica left the world of 9-to-5 to venture into the often unpredictable life of an entrepreneur.
“Jessica wanted to be self-employed, and I believed in her,” said Johnny. “She is good as what she does, so I was 100 percent behind her.”
A new member of the Carrollwood Area Business Association, Kingsborough launched her full-service marketing company Creative[ology] in June, and has been busy since its inception, mainly through word-of-mouth referrals.
We visited with Kingsborough to learn the secret to being successful - even in a downturned economy.
Patch: Can you define Creative[ology]?
Kingsborough: I am a outsource marketing firm that assists small business with their marketing needs. I work with a lot of individual owners who aren’t large enough or don’t have a budget to hire an in-house marketing director. They outsource in small patches or in entirety their marketing.
Patch: What do you like best about what you do?
Kingsborough: I like the idea of doing projects versus managing one project on a full-time basis. This allows me to manage many projects in different fields. I get to work with people in all industries.
Patch: What do you recommend for a small business to get its name out to the public?
Kingsborough: Join organizations like CABA. Attend a lot of functions and network; getting out and getting to know your community, getting involved – these are the greatest ways I’ve found to get in contact with people.
Patch: What mistakes are small businesses making in this economy?
Kingsborough: What I find mostly, when times get tough, the first thing small businesses tend to cut back on is their marketing. That is the one thing they need spend more extra time and effort.
Patch: If they don’t have the money, how is this possible?
Kingsborough: I’m a big believer that you don’t have to have a huge budget, but you need to understand if you don’t have the money, you need to have the time.
There are a lot of cost-effective things you can do – like joining a business association – but that is going to take your time. It is no good unless you are willing to attend the functions and put the time in.
Patch: Is that something you can do for them?
Kingsborough: Yes, typically I sit down with the business owner and assess what they are doing, what works, and what they are not doing. Usually they aren’t doing very much and just want to find a way to get more customers in their door.
I work with them to determine a budget and I give them a plan of what that budget will get them.
This would be blend between online, print, outreach, and network. Of course, every business and every industry is different.
Patch: Do you recommend social media?
Kingsborough: Yes, I am huge proponent of social media for your business. The biggest challenge most business owners face is they know how social media works for them personally, but they don’t understand how social media works for their business.
I believe we live in very voyeuristic society and social media is a perfect opportunity to give people an inside look of what you do on a daily basis. It also builds loyal customers that way. It used to be that you would go online and look at a business website. Today’s standard is you check out their Facebook page. Generally, the information there is more ‘real time.'
Patch: Lastly, what made you decide to give up a steady job to become an entrepreneur?
Kingsborough: Growing up, my parents owned their own business and I thinks it’s a mindset I am comfortable with. It was a little like jumping off a cliff, but I love the flexibility it allows. I like the variables of many projects and it keeps me fresh, excited and creative. I also really enjoy helping people. Being a small business myself, it’s so fun to help an owner increase sales or business.
(Being an entrepreneur) is like swimming across a river. When you get halfway through, you have to decide whether you swim back to shore you came from or aim for the shore across from you. I just keep swimming forward.