Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rachael Garrison, Owner of Ocelot Media, located in Tigard, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I work to ensure that small businesses get the online visibility that they deserve. Typically, businesses will contact me to build a website. That's always the most obvious answer for businesses that want to build an online reputation for themselves. But I look at the whole picture and often propose things other than a website.
My customers are small local businesses. They are typically owned by a single person and have a single location or a service area business. I really do want each and every one of them to succeed and provide solutions that will actually make a difference. I tell all my potential clients that I never ever upsell. I don't want to offer them something that they don't actually need.
Tell us about yourself
I got into this completely by accident. My husband has always worked in digital marketing, so when I expressed interest in creating a website for my employer, he suggested WordPress. This was around 2008, just a few years after WordPress was released. Actually, even before that, I had made a few basic HTML sites. It was always a fun little hobby for me.
After I had my son (who is now 11!) and found myself at home and stir-crazy, I offered to build a website and email list for a local farm store that desperately needed both. We set up a barter, where I ended up with free produce for a few years. I did a few other barters to build experience, but this was never really intended to be a business.
In 2014, while pregnant with our second child, I really got started with real clients for actual money. It grew from referrals from there. I also had strong SEO in our area in California for a few years and got a good amount of work that way. We moved to the Portland area in 2019, and I finally redesigned our website in 2022. My goal is and has always been to support small local businesses and nonprofits, and that is what motivates me every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Growing this business with minimal effort! I mean, I put a ton of effort into my clients but not into growing the business. I guess putting the work into my clients is what helps growth. I still work solo for the most part, but I have steady work, and I'm happy with that.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The uncertainty of future projects! I don't have a "normal" steady income.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you're doing something meaningful or impactful - not just for money.
- Disappointments and failures will happen. Expect them, embrace them, learn from them, and grow. Don't let them defeat you.
- Create a Google Business page! Goodness gracious, the number of new businesses that don't make one is staggering! It's so important!
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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