Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dina Marto, Co-Founder of C&D | The Agency, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the Co-founder of C&D The Agency, which is an all-women-led agency specializing in business and entertainment while dedicated to empowering minority women. We help brands build and scale, especially in the multicultural community. We bridge the gap between businesses, brands, and talent with their consumers, audiences, and fans in ways that are relative, lucrative, and socially responsible. Our services include Marketing, Branding, Public Relations + Crisis Management, Operations Management, Sports + Talent Management, and Project Management. We launched in 2020, and our clients range from tech start-ups to global social justice platforms and more.
Tell us about yourself
I am a seasoned entrepreneur and have been in the music business for over 20 years. In 2020, I partnered with my long-time friend and marketing guru Courtney Rhodes after the pandemic helped us focus and realize that our passion is mentoring younger women, which is the crux of why C&D The Agency was created. Since we both came from male-dominated industries and never had women mentors throughout our careers, we wanted to make that difference for the next generation of women leaders. Our motivation each day is to empower minority women and provide a safe space for collaboration and innovation. We love making a difference not only for our clients but also for our internal team.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I've had a lot of amazing accomplishments as a business owner, but one of my proudest moments is when I received a Proclamation from the City of Atlanta for my contributions to the music industry and local community. I built an artist development company and recording studio in Midtown which became an Atlanta staple. I owned and operated Twelve Music & Studios for seven years and created an environment for collaboration and a space for talent to be nurtured. Eventually, I sold the studio location in 2019 to focus on other ventures and to continue to challenge myself and grow.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Entrepreneurship is not always as glamorous as it may seem. When you are a business owner, I think one of the hardest responsibilities is knowing that, at the end of the day, everything is on your shoulders. If your team doesn't show up or complete a task, then you have to step in and make sure it's done. If no revenue was made that month, you still have to pay your staff before paying yourself. Although you may have more flexibility in your regular work schedule, you are never totally "off" as an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of resilience, self-motivation, and hard work to own and operate a business successfully.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a clear vision that doesn't waver but a good plan that is flexible.
- Start with a solid budget and know it takes money to make money, then continue to invest back into the business.
- Build a strong team because you can't do everything by yourself, and even if you can, you shouldn't.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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