The HerKentucky team is thrilled to present HerKentucky Business, a monthly spotlight on female entrepreneurs in the Bluegrass State. In this edition, I answer questions about the business I recently launched, Authentically Social.
My "official" third person bio: Emily is a marketer with over eight years of corporate marketing, brand management, communications, and social media experience. Whether through traditional marketing, social media management, email marketing, or writing, her passion is connecting great brands with fans. Emily lives in Lexington, KY and holds a MBA in Marketing and BA in Advertising from the University of Kentucky.
1. Are you a native Kentuckian? Why have a Kentucky business?
I am not a native Kentuckian, but moved here when I was thirteen. It took about twenty years of being here to stop being so stubborn about how awesome this state is. The quality of life is great, people are friendly, and the cost of living is low. Having a Kentucky business means my costs to operate aren't exorbitant and I can provide great value to companies particularly from out-of-state who might not be able to explore social media marketing with agencies in their particular markets.
2. Many younger people say they can't find many corporate-type jobs in Kentucky, so they leave the state. What was your experience?
I will admit that I was one of those people who said that as soon as college was done, I'd go to a larger city like Chicago or New York City so I could find work with some awesome company and become a big-shot city girl. No idea where those idealistic visions came from, but I'm glad that I met a Kentucky boy who didn't want to give up his roots here. I've worked for several Kentucky companies doing brand marketing and working on projects that I didn't realize existed here until I looked. There are amazing companies doing amazing things all across the state. The companies have contributed to my ability to be able to start a business, and thrive here in the Commonwealth.
3. What was the hardest part of starting a new business? What do you wish someone had told you before you started Authentically Social?
Honestly, the hardest part was telling myself I could do it. There wasn't anything overly logistical that held me up, it was all self-doubt. Could I find clients? Would people help me spread the word? Would I fail miserably and have to crawl back to a corporate desk job? I never though I'd leave the comfort of the corporate office, and then it became all consuming. I built my business up on nights and weekends. While that was what I needed to do to get some courage up, I would suggest that others not wait so long (and not tire yourself out)! Be confident in your abilities, and take the leap.
4. What is the most rewarding part of entrepreneurship/small business ownership?
I'm still pretty new at it, but what has been most exciting so far is the response that others in the community have given me, and the enthusiastic reception I've gotten from prospects (now clients). To know you built something based on your hard work is incredibly rewarding -- of course monetarily, but more so emotionally.
5. What suggestions do you have for women who want to start their own business?
Meet with other women business owners: take them out for coffee or lunch and ask them about their experiences. I did this with someone I didn't know from Junior League and it was so refreshing to be able to hear about her experience. It then made me more confident to approach others and ask about their experiences, and now I have a little network of women supporters that I can turn to when needed.
Also, if you are unsure about a functional area of your business (for me it was legal contracts and accounting), call in professionals. You don't have to know how to do everything, so focus on what you are good at, and have others help you with the rest.
Logistically, the Kentucky Secretary of State office has lots of resources on how to search for a company name and file your business structure.