Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rana Florida, CEO of Creative Class Group, located in Miami Beach, FL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Creative Class Group is a global advisory firm composed of expert researchers, academics, and business strategists. Our proprietary data and research give companies and regions leading insights to achieve growth and prosperity.

Our customers are wide-ranging, from Meta (Facebook and Instagram) to Starwood Hotels, Converse, Audi, and BMW. Essentially any company or region that wants to better understand the Creative Class founded by world-renowned urbanist Richard Florida.

Tell us about yourself

I'm Chief Executive Officer of the Creative Class Group, managing new business development, marketing, consulting, research, and global operations, serving such diverse clients as Meta (Facebook and Instagram), BMW, Converse, IBM, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Zappos, and Starwood Hotels – to name just a few.

As former Vice President of Marketing for HMSHost, the world’s largest airport developer, I have more than two decades of experience in corporate strategy, communications, and marketing. Prior to that, I served as Vice President of Communications for Disney on Ice and Disney Live! through Feld Entertainment. With my husband, Richard Florida, we helped found and launch, CityLab, a new digital platform for The Atlantic, where we also worked on events and programming for The Aspen Ideas Institute and Bloomberg.

I enjoy writing on business and leadership – and was a contributor for Fast Company, Inc.com, the Huffington Post, and the Miami Herald – I also served as a guest business analyst on The Today Show, MSNBC’s, The Cycle, and was a Fox News contributor for several years.

I love learning from successful leaders, and my one-on-one high-profile business interviews have covered notables – from President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama to Andre Agassi, Nelly Furtado, Tory Burch, and many more.

I am heavily involved in philanthropy, including Best Buddies Canada, Let Grow, Silver Arts Project, The United Nations Global Network on Digital Technologies and Sustainable Urbanization for UN Habitat, The Olympics Committee, Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, Silver Art Projects, The National Ballet of Canada, St. Mike’s Hospital Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, Luminato Festival, Travel & Leisure Rebel Awards, Le Miami, The Design–Exchange, Isabella Blow Foundation, Girls E Mentorship, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Airports Council International, Council for International Visitors, and The Founders Junior Council of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts in communications and an MBA in marketing and management. My book, Upgrade—Taking Your Work and Life From Ordinary to Extraordinary, was a ‘Business Best Seller’ by Tattered Cover, the largest independent bookstore retailer in the U.S., and The Globe and Mail, Editor’s Pick.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being able to take a profound theory and sound data and research on my husband's theory of the Creative Class and help regions and companies around the world grow and prosper.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The separation of work and life. I take calls from Mayor's offices on the playground. Zoom with clients from my kids' gymnastics or ballet class. Edit reports and take team meetings from the airport. But COVID taught me that a healthy balance of work and life and sleep and fitness is so important for mental health, so I try to incorporate a 30-minute device-free nature hike every morning to help recharge my creativity.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Just because you are a business owner, never assume you have all the answers. Surround yourself with smart people and learn from them.
  2. Stay nimble and be able to pivot when the market changes. Stay up to date with technology.
  3. Be passionate and excited about what you do. To strive for monetization alone won't keep a business afloat; your customers and audience need to connect with your passion and excitement about your product or offering.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

The pandemic was a great reset for many of us to rethink our lives and take control of what we are doing to ensure we are on a path of work that is meaningful and satisfying.

Where can people find you and your business?

Website: https://creativeclass.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rflorida/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ranaflorida
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rana-florida-41929920/


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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