Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Torie Mathis, Marketing Strategist, Best-Selling Author, Army Veteran, and Host of Smart AF, located in Suwanee, GA, USA.

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

Since 2007, I've operated a boutique marketing agency focusing on getting small business owners online, building their authority, and generating leads. Since then, digital marketing has come a long way its ease of use, reduced cost, and low barrier of entry allow every entrepreneur the ability to take control of their marketing.

I always tell my audience that now is the greatest time to be an entrepreneur - you can easily reach more people than ever before. The power is in your hands; no longer do you need an advertising agency or PR firm - you can market your business online. I love showing entrepreneurs that they don't need buckets of cash, a dedicated staff, or crazy tech skills to market their business; in fact, they don't need a lot of time. They just need to be smart. I teach how to create a system that works together to create sustained growth without getting burned out, bogged down, or wasting time and money.

Tell us about yourself

I never expected to be a business owner. I struggled to pay for college and joined the Army for college money and got stationed in Germany. I broke my hip and got medically discharged unexpectedly, but college was still my priority. Because of my injury, I qualified for a retraining program and ended up in Art School to study advertising. Looking back, it's funny I went from Army to Art School. During my last year of college, I landed my dream job at a magazine and worked my way up to the assistant publisher. Unfortunately, the magazine focused solely on Real Estate Agents, and when the real estate market crashed, the publishing house went down with it, along with my dream job. I became unemployed in the snap of a finger.

I decided to start my marketing agency right there, though I really had no idea what I was doing. I was newly married, had just bought a house, and didn't have a plan for entrepreneurship. I gathered up a few clients and began right there. I made huge mistakes and wasted time and money, but I didn't give up. I read books, took courses, and learned everything I could about marketing. Over the next decade, I worked with hundreds of small businesses, grew my agency, and was even able to bring my husband on to work with me. I was invited to speak at an event to a room full of business owners and realized I had a deeper calling.

I could reach more people. I began to speak on stages across the globe with a focus on empowering the small business owner, the coach, the speaker, and the solopreneur so that they could grow their business with digital marketing. And I haven't stopped. I still have the agency, but my focus is on helping as many small business owners as I can. I've taught thousands of entrepreneurs how to get smart with marketing. Each day I am motivated to reach at least one business owner, give them the skill they were looking for, show them a tool to make things easier, and give them the motivation not to give up.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My greatest accomplishment as a business owner is growing my business to a place where my husband could quit his corporate job and work with me. After only a year, he began his entrepreneurial journey and started an automotive museum with just one car. Our first, but not last, brick-and-mortar business. We could finally use all these skills and build our own local business, and boy did we. Within a few months, Sean had over a million dollars of displayed items at his museum. We were featured on the news and in magazines and won awards. And it was all because of digital marketing.

We have chronicled some of our journey on our podcast SMART AF and continue to work daily to help entrepreneurs grow their dream businesses as we did with Mile Through Time Automotive Museum.

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

The most challenging part of being a business owner is focusing on what matters most - what will get you the most return. Your days are pulled in so many directions that it can be easy to get bogged down in details that don't matter. It's easy to become the worker bee in your business instead of the captain of your ship, especially when you're a solopreneur and you have to do it all. I have always run a lean business with few employees or on my own, and though it has given me freedom, it has also been a challenge to get the right things done. To stay focused, I remember I have a plan, I work the plan, and I keep driving on with my focus on helping others.

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

  1. Invest in yourself: Become a life-long learner, sharpen your skills, and continue to grow. Take action daily to be a better version of yourself.
  2. Take care of yourself: Your health should always be a priority. Without it, you can't be successful at your business or with your family. Eat well, exercise daily, and get good sleep.
  3. Get help: Just because you can do things doesn't mean you should do it all alone. Learn to delegate, ask for help, get a coach, and join a mastermind. Entrepreneurship can be lonely. Having a team and support will only make you a better business owner.

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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