Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in digital marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karen Talavera, Founder & Principal of Synchronicity Marketing, located in Keystone, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Synchronicity Marketing is a data-driven marketing consultancy specializing in digital messaging (email/SMS/content) and e-commerce strategy for both B2C and B2B brands seeking revenue growth, increased online visibility, improved customer retention, and digital transformation. We work with companies from small to large, spanning industries like retail, travel, arts & non-profit, to software, media, publishing, entertainment, and consumer goods.
Tell us about yourself
I've always been drawn to evolution and innovation. After cutting my teeth after college as a marketing associate specializing in consumer-data-driven marketing in the pre-internet world, I took a job in 1999 with one of the first marketing automation software companies and recognized email marketing as a unique intersection of innovation, accountability, and technological evolution in marketing - my perfect storm! I was hooked, and the rapid digital transformation of the early 2000's kept me enthralled as I witnessed the birth of WIFI, social media, smartphones, e-commerce, and more.
After a few years working for pioneering tech companies in the sector, I struck out on my own, founding Synchronicity Marketing in 2003 to provide email marketing consulting and strategy for companies rapidly investing in e-commerce. Although job offers from agencies and brands rolled in over the following years, none offered the flexibility, creativity, or lifestyle that self-employment did. The choice was clear to keep investing in myself and my business. But beyond that, I discovered kindred spirits in the world of email marketing, digital strategy, and e-commerce - a real community of pioneers, thought-leaders, experimenters, and edge-pushers that I came to be inspired by and fulfilled by serving. Having been in the first generation of digital marketers, I quickly came to realize my wisdom and knowledge were valuable, and I delighted in sharing it with those new in their careers. I became a women-in-business mentor, professional educator, trainer, and coach, teaching what I knew.
What motivates me to remain self-employed is the freedom, variety, and lifestyle, but what motivates me to keep doing what I do are the amazing PEOPLE and companies I get to serve! Whether I'm training and educating, developing a strategy for a paying client, speaking at conferences, leading webinars and podcasts, or volunteering my time with industry groups (like the Association of National Advertisers' Email Excellence Committee), I'm gifted with opportunities to keep learning, growing and sharing. I get to remain on the front lines of innovation, evolution, and technology in marketing, and I'm blessed with the chance to inspire others. Ultimately, that's what it's all about for me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Longevity and global recognition. As an early pioneer in email marketing, I've had the benefit of nearly 25 years of continuous experience in the field, which has afforded me incredible visibility and the opportunity to work with hundreds of brands, train tens of thousands of professionals globally, and share knowledge internationally. I'm proof that persistence and focus pay huge dividends over time. Although digital marketing has grown far beyond its early single-channel days into an omnichannel discipline, I feel like I've never lost a step with it and have been able to grow along with it.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Ensuring financial viability through diversification and a solid sales process. Many entrepreneurs take this for granted, focusing instead on creating and delivering their product, invention, or service. Sure, every business owner needs a unique value prop and distinct offering, but working IN the business (doing what you're good at) is the easy part. Working ON the business is real work. Creating constant, continuing demand that results in a steady stream of revenue is critical to survival! One of the hardest things that come with being a SERVICES business owner is keeping the pipeline full, and that means learning to SELL effectively, develop multiple channels of distribution, and monetize one's expertise. That's the real job.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do what you're passionate about, or don't bother. In other words, go big or stay home. You'll need that passion to ride out the rough spots and lean times and overcome the inevitable challenges that come with being an entrepreneur.
- Understand your target market thoroughly. Know as much about them as possible, and size the market. Is it large enough to be financially viable? Get clear on what problems you solve or value you add that is unique, better than, or different from your competition.
- Commit. Don't get in it if you're not in it for the long haul. A successful business is a marathon, not a sprint. It might look like there are overnight successes, but they're often just a flash in the pan.
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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