A Client Before A Business
I’m an anomaly. It’s not normal, but I had a client before I had a business. Every conference, round table, webinar, etc., I attend or watch I’m always shaking my head and thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me” when people are discussing the planning a business stage.
Truth is, I took a running leap into entrepreneurship out of desperation to escape an unexpected turn in my career path. If you’ve ever listened to Episode #10 on The Inspired Women Podcast, you have heard tidbits of my story/background, but never the whole shebang. I can’t help but think there is someone else out there who understands my odd perspective. All of my business owning friends took weeks, months and even years to carefully plot and plan their business launch. They moved cautiously through each and every step.
Not me. I belly flopped into business ownership.
Circa 2009 I was uprooted from my happy little life and transplanted to Southeast Virginia, or “Hampton Roads” as the locals call it. With only three weeks notice before a move, time was of the essence and this lady had some BILLS to pay! So, without hesitation (because it worked for me gloriously in the past) I went to a staffing company and asked for help in finding gainful employment. Once again, it worked gloriously.
However, instead of finding myself planted somewhere invigorating for my creative brain like my prior gigs I was in an entirely new (and seemingly warped) little corner of the universe. Janitorial supplies. I was suddenly thrust into the role of a person who assisted a janitorial supplies salesman. I’ve worked in some fascinating industries in my adult life; accounting, recruiting, e-commerce, real estate and even a place that made the chenille letters for letter jackets. Honestly, I was an up-for-anything type of person, so the industry didn’t matter. Whatever life threw me, I was in it to win it!
This new gig was a rude awakening. There was no formal training and a massive learning curve. I had nightmares about item numbers and products where I was trying catch the numbers as they flew through the air and match them to their respective products. That lasted for months as I struggled to understand this foreign world and all the things that mattered to the people in it.
SN: Fast paced work environments are where I thrive. I LOVE the pressure. I’m one of those weirdos who actually does their best work under massive amounts of pressure!
This toilet paper sales stuff was insanely fast paced and high pressure. But, after a few quick months I conquered the learning curve and began to feel restless. My craving for creative work increased every day, but there was never enough creative work to keep me satiated.
So, when my favorite sales rep, George Rakowski, said, “You have a lot of talent you’re not getting to really use. I have some friends that own businesses that could probably use your help. Do you want me to introduce you?” I didn’t hesitate for one second! “YESSSSSSSSSSSSS.” I held onto the full time hustle for a few more months before launching into business full time (and way, way too early). I’ll share more on that topic here another day.
Two weeks later I had secured my very first client, a real estate agent in a cute little beach community. The day after our very first meeting, I headed to the Virginia Beach Municipal Center to acquire a business license and Create/Captivate was born (as Happy Kaycee Productions – a “how to know when to rebrand” blog is coming soon!). I worked for that client over the span of five years until I was ready to explore expanding from a freelance business to building an agency and he was ready to hire a full time employee.
George is my hero and always will be because of this plot twist he created. He’s a truly remarkable human and one day, when C/C is a really, really big deal I’m going to do something extra kind for him because without his connections, support and encouragement I might still be having nightmares about toilet paper and hand soap.