What I’ve Been Up To: Designing a New Business

Back in 2015, I moved to Boston for a job that ultimately turned out to be a bad fit. My skills, knowledge, and experience were really not a good match for the company I was working with, and we both knew it. As a mid-30s career professional, that was a first for me, and I took it really hard. I’d fit in everywhere before, so why not there?

Aside from the bad-fit problem, I had this nagging feeling that an office job wasn’t best for me. I’m a natural entrepreneur and can count about 10 businesses/ideas that I’ve pursued in just the past few years, so going into an office every day from 9-5 felt stifling. I hated the idea of a set work schedule, counting vacation days, a set paycheck, and not being able to explore my passions. It was definitely time for something new, but I didn’t know quite what.

Changing Things Up

I was always starting businesses on the side, and dreaming up new ones, but never had the courage to pursue them full-time. Earlier this year, I realized I had enough consulting work to get me through the first few months, and there would never be a better time to take the leap. So I decided to work full-time on my consulting firm, Mason Street Strategies, to augment clients’ product development and marketing efforts. I really like helping other people see their dreams come to life, so it’s been a really gratifying change.

The response has been fantastic and I’ve been busy ever since. I’m just so grateful that friends, family, and acquaintances have trusted me to help them with strategic marketing and product development challenges. A few big things I’ve been working on:

  • Auditing the digital marketing and social media efforts of VStar Entertainment, which runs Paw Patrol Live and Sesame Street Live, among other shows.
  • Re-conceptualizing and rebuilding the web presence of an office furniture company looking to expand into larger markets.
  • Analyzing and improving search engine optimization efforts for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.

It’s Hard, Y’all

I’m really lucky to have had a successful half-year – it’s exceeding my expectations – but honestly, running a business is scary.

One of the things nagging at me for the past few years is that not only is having a full-time job terribly stifling (for me), but it means I wasn’t properly diversified against economic changes, the whims of my employer, etc. Job loss would be a relative catastrophe, which isn’t how I want to live my life.

Right now, this is scarier in some ways, and much less so at the same time. I have to think about healthcare, cashflow, budgeting, and growth in a way that’s so much more real than having to generically work on it in an office.

It’s real: if I don’t sell enough products and services, I’ll have to get a job. But I get to spend many hours per week making sure that doesn’t happen, and so far so good. In return, I get the freedom to write, explore new ideas, design new businesses, and offer new services to clients.

What’s Next

Building a business involves talent and tenacity, but also a lot of luck. I’ve become attracted to the concept of increasing my luck surface area.The larger I can make my luck surface area, the more people I’ll be able to help. It’s a concept that has really stuck with me and has been true so far – most great business I get comes through referrals, which means I need to spread my net wide and gently remind people to think of me when they need strategic consulting services.

In the time I’m not working with clients, I’m developing new ideas, writing more, and learning about new businesses and industries to increase my luck surface area even further.  Everything I learn has a chance to be applied to future client engagements and businesses, which makes the world feel all the more interesting right now.

Business is growing, but I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t ask for your help! If you’re at a crossroads in your product development or marketing efforts, it’s a perfect time to call me. My services are designed to bring new perspectives to the table and develop strategic product and marketing plans that help grow businesses.

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