Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Taryn Souza, Owner of Fortissimo Ad Strategy, located in Worcester, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I work with service-based business owners who are focused on obtaining customers in their local geographic area. Some examples of clients I work with currently are auto detailers focused on paint protection services, HVAC companies, cafes, wedding venues, gift & clothing boutiques, med spas, alternative schools(!!!!), and cleaning companies. I help them get in front of their ideal clients and therefore earn more customers by providing effective lead generation & nurture campaigns on both the Meta (Facebook) & Google platforms.
Tell us about yourself
I have my bachelor's and master's degrees in music education, and I was previously a teacher in public schools for ten years prior to owning my boutique agency! I was motivated to leave teaching as a profession for a whole slew of reasons, but some of the top reasons include more personal & family freedom, as well as removing myself from the toxic environment perpetuated by bad administrators. My motivation in my business currently is focused on serving myself & my family the best way I can while also providing an incredible service to my clients that is extremely personalized to their needs. Beyond the present state of my business, I am motivated to create a safe & healthy environment for employees to thrive while leading with a purpose to ensure their needs are also met. I want to be the employer that I wish I had when I was an educator. But no regrets; it's all part of the plan! The pains made victory all the more sweeter!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
They're all so different...and I can't just pick one, so bear with me- A few things come to mind, some of which are not necessarily measurable but rather personal. First, I was able to resign from my full-time teaching position....where my business replaced my income less than one year after beginning! That was huge, and it provided me with a ton of confidence and momentum. Next, I am now able to take guilt-free sick or personal days as needed (for myself or my son) without having to report to a boss! Now, that doesn't mean I don't sometimes work on those days, but I was able to keep my son home from school because that's what he needed, and I didn't have to feel the anxiety of "What will my principal say?!" in response to my calling out of school. And lastly, I would say the fact that my business continues to GROW and my clients are seeing massive gains, as a result, is a major accomplishment! This year, compared to last, I experienced a 70% growth in revenue, and that is something to be massively proud of!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The mindset! For sure. You MUST choose to trust in yourself and your ability to serve your clients day in and day out. I find myself having to continually reinvent myself in some way or give myself a pep talk when something happens that gets me down. And going along with mindset overall, you have to be okay with being the one in your circle that often thinks MUCH differently than others. This includes being mindful of who you do or don't share your business wins or frustrations with (specifically referring to your non-business bestie community). Being a business owner requires a completely different mindset than maybe someone who knows that there's a contracted salary you'll receive bi-weekly. It requires grit, self-trust, and of course, a ton of discipline. It requires risk-taking & faith. You'll have the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows! Buckle up!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I have so many thoughts and could speak on this topic all day long- So let's focus on starting a business! My top three tips would include to develop unwavering trust in yourself, to make a plan and stick to it (as closely as you can), and lastly, be open & willing to see opportunities in front of you AND take them when they feel right! (Hint: if they're simultaneously scary and exciting....you're probably onto something!) Personally, I have spoken to SO MANY TEACHERS & EDUCATORS specifically who feel they are stuck and have commended me for leaving the profession because they "could never do it." But the problem with that is it's all just their own limiting belief that's telling them they can't, or people around them who they feel lack confidence in them (or themselves, honestly)... But the truth is, the only person who really needs to believe is yourself, and if you don't have that, you won't succeed. Period. OH! And I'm going to throw in a fourth tip for good measure...find your tribe of business besties that support you! The support from these like-minded people will take you further than you can imagine and will make up for anyone who's less than supportive in your normal non-business owner circle.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.