When Pierre Trudeau contemplated retirement, he took a “long walk in the snow”. When I was exploring the idea of changing the direction of my consulting business, I took a long walk in the sand along a beach in Prince Edward Island last summer.
At the time, a big part of the business was helping companies with social media strategy and tactics. It was a fast-growing market with interesting clients, but there was tons of competition and it’s difficult to differentiate.
At the same time, I was getting approached by startups looking for help with marketing – everything from core messaging and Website content to videos, media/blogger pitches, and social media strategy. As someone who spent a lot of time working for startups, it was not only exciting work but it felt like the right place to be.
This led to a decision to pivot ME Consulting to focus on startup marketing. The target audience are early-stage startups or entrepreneurs who have a product or about to launch a product but have done little or no marketing, or their marketing efforts aren’t as effective as they’d like.
In many ways, the work is foundational by giving startups building blocks upon which they can establish a variety of marketing activities. It lets them go from not doing marketing to having a program that can grow and evolve over time.
The work is collaborative, hands on and multi-faceted, which plays right into the different skills and experience I developed as a reporter, startup entrepreneur and consultant. Startups need a variety of help so being multi-tooled meets their needs.
The pivot to startup marketing has been buoyed by a wave of activity within the startup community, which offers plenty of opportunities for people like myself looking to serve their needs. Some of my clients over the past year include Atomic Reach, ScribbleLive, Shopcastr, Round 13 Capital, Easy Projects and Swix.
Another angle to the pivot was a re-branding, which took more time than I expected but was well worth the time and investment. This involved a redesign of my Website and blog (created by Fugitive Ink’s Liam Nickerson and Kate Grzegorczyk, and Andrew Woo), a new photo (done by Paul Orenstein), video (created by James Sidney), corporate messaging and marketing collateral.
As well, I launched a newsletter, “This Week in Canadian Startups” (designed by Fugitive Ink) to create a way to highlight the interesting startup content I was discovering, and establish more of a foothold within the startup community.
Needless to say, it has been a fascinating process that has been rewarding and educational. The business is doing well (knock on wood!) but, more important, the work is exciting and challenging.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the need to keep on improving how you do business, and the importance of focusing on work that drives you. For entrepreneurs, the journey is more enjoyable if you’re passionate about what you do because it means you’re not working but simply doing what you want.
I’m not sure about where the business goes from here but I have discovered life (personally and professionally) takes in you unexpected directions so enjoy the ride.