Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marissa Neely, Founder of Fair Winds Media and Sailing Avocet, located in Ventura, CA, USA.

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

My business is Fair Winds Media, a digital marketing agency that caters to those looking to expand their digital horizons. I work with resorts, authors, dive shops, and (of course) sailors.

Tell us about yourself

After college, my husband and I moved aboard our sailboat (Avocet) and decided to pursue my passion for digital marketing. It was a slow start at first, taking on a few clients while maintaining a full-time job, but then it grew exponentially through word of mouth, and I began to pick up larger clients that needed my attention. After a couple of years, I was able to leave my full-time job and officially work for myself - and only myself - which was very empowering but also terrifying.

As silly as it sounds, my biggest motivation is fear because it is a primal instinct that served us as cave dwellers and still serves us today. It keeps us alive because if we survive a bad experience, we never forget how to avoid it in the future. My business is all about trial and error as social media platforms continue to evolve and algorithms change daily; I channel my fear of failure and transform it into something useful to fuel my passion of helping my clients reach their goals, which subsequently satisfies my own.

Fair Winds Media is operated from our sailboat, Avocet, as we sail the world seeking wind and wifi. Being surrounded by so much inspiration absolutely plays into my abilities to create for my clients - I live the lifestyle my business represents. You can read our sailing blog,, for more insight into our life afloat!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is BEING a business owner. I am eternally grateful for the mentors and supporters I have had along the way. Each step is a step in the right direction, and I am excited to pay it forward someday when another young entrepreneur is looking for guidance on how to get out there and "make it happen."

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

The imposter syndrome. I have struggled with imposter syndrome my entire life, constantly questioning if I am worthy of the space I take up in a particular field or hobby. As a business owner, I have really had to work through that for not only myself but also my clients, who have put their trust in me for a reason. They could have signed with anyone else but chose me because they believe in my abilities and the success I have continued to bring to the table. Overall I am confident in my work, my abilities, and my business, but sometimes in a world this big and busy, I can momentarily lose sight of that.

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

  1. Find your passion.
  2. Make it pay.
  3. Never give up - don't be afraid to pivot!

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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