Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in branding and marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Archie, Founder of The Collective Lifestyle Marketing Group, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Collective Lifestyle Marketing Group is a marketing consulting firm with a focus on small business brand development. I like to say we work with the people behind the brand. Our clients are busy, passionate experts at what they do and intend to make an impact. We help them to grow their brand, build connections, and set up a foundation to create a legacy.
Tell us about yourself
I always knew I was destined to be in business for myself, in the sense that the traditional employment structure of hierarchy does not work for me. I need to feel that my ideas, work ethic, and experience are valued. Like I'm a part of a true team. It's just as important to me that there are shared values between me and the people I work with. As a business owner, I have the opportunity to create that for myself and invite like-minded people to the table, whether they are clients, partners, or teammates.
After seven years of working for a media brand that I loved, I had to come to terms with the fact that the parties running the ship did not fit the criteria of my needs. It wasn't working for me anymore, so I took the risk of stepping out on my own, where I could service the clients I loved to work with and do it without the red tape of a corporate entity forcing my hand on how I run my desk. It was a period of discovery to find what I enjoyed most and did best. I mean, that was the point, right? To do what I love and do it on my terms.
It took some time, but three years into building my business, I realized that although I enjoyed working with big, internationally recognized brands, what got me most excited was working closely with passionate and ambitious people who were serious about building their brands. They just needed guidance to organize and clarify their next steps to launch or grow their brand, and they needed to do it with the limited capacity of time and money. That's when I got to work creating an actionable program to help them do this. Brand YOU. I call it a business therapy program, and it's become the marquee product from which my consulting work is derived. I shifted my business to focus on small business legacy development through brand strategy.
As a young adult, I always thought it would be cool to be an investor who could help people with great ideas to bring their visions to fruition. I believe that the work I do now is how I can fulfill that dream.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Oddly enough, I'd have to say my biggest ongoing accomplishment is working through the fear. I'm a risk taker and a strong believer that life is precisely for taking risks, but in this journey, there were days when I questioned where I was going with this grind. I kept going anyway because there were both big and little things that I felt accountable for. Trust in the process has gotten me to some awesome results in the past, and I have my own example and the examples of others to look back on when I need to push forward. I'm definitely most proud of pushing through the fear.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Faith. Trust and faith. When you are the boss, you are the person you have to go to for answers, and when you are not sure, above you is a higher power with all the answers. Realizing that the answers are not always immediately available and that you often need to move forward with this intangible coming of answers can be challenging at first, especially if you feel like you need to be able to offer explanations or answers to loved ones around you that are not yet clear to yourself.
I am so grateful that having obvious haters or dream killers in my space has not been my experience. And for those who don't quite get it, I've never felt the need to help them to get it. That has kept me protected, focused, and faithful.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just do it, do it with thoughtful planning, but make sure you're DOING and not just planning.
- If you can, get clear about who around you might be a hindrance and who will be a supporter of what you are about to venture into. You'll need to distance yourself and any urge to "explain" to those who are a hindrance.
- Make sure you are 100% clear on who you are authentically and why you are doing what you are doing. Then do it relentlessly!
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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