Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maria Ross, founder of Red Slice LLC., located in Pacifica, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Red Slice is a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and fast-growth businesses tell an irresistible brand story so they can stand out, attract the right customers, and accelerate impact and growth. We help clients clarify their vision, value, and story through an empathy lens to connect better and engage their people.
Tell us about yourself
After a successful career in consulting and corporate marketing on the client and agency sides, I went off on my own to start Red Slice in 2008. The goal? Do work I love with people I like. I'm passionate about activating and inspiring people to do good in the world, fostering more empathy, and encouraging people to act on that empathy for positive social impact. I speak. I write. I host two podcasts, The Empathy Edge and Jonni and Maria Go There! I'm a mom, wife, lover of dogs, red wine, CrossFit, Peloton, trivia, and British crime dramas. I'm also an actress in my spare time.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Just going into business for myself was a big accomplishment and navigating all the things. I was quite comfy with my corporate career but now have so much freedom. I've been proud to publish three books (The Empathy Edge, Rebooting My Brain, Branding Basics for Small Business), speak at TEDx, be featured in media outlets such as MSNBC, NPR, and Entrepreneur, launch my podcast, and serve thousands of entrepreneurs and companies through my client engagements, workshops, media, articles, and keynotes. And doing most of it after recovering from a near-fatal brain aneurysm.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Juggling. You really have to get comfortable with asking for help and outsourcing tasks that don't take advantage of your talents. And also, set boundaries on your time and energy.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Clearly articulate your brand story and strategy first and foremost. It will guide all your other decisions and serve as a compass, so you don't waste time and money. Clarify who you are, what value you deliver, who you serve (and who you don't), and your values and approach. That is what will differentiate you.
- Set goals but let go of expectations. Be flexible enough to pivot when opportunity knocks - or crisis hits. It's okay to reprioritize. That's a strength, not a failure.
- Find helpers so you spend your time on the things only you can do. Don't try to do everything yourself. Invest in a good lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper - and if tech is not your thing, find a virtual assistant who LOVES that stuff!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Trust your gut. Once you have enough experience, your gut is often right about people and opportunities. Understand your body and get to know the difference between excitement that masquerades as fear (which leaves you light, bubbly, and ready to try) versus "This is not right" fear that you feel in the pit of your stomach and that every part of your body tells you is the wrong choice! The first will energize you. The second often weighs you down - so become aware of the difference and trust it.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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