Editor’s Note: Thank you to Vizaca, an online magazine for global entrepreneurs and small business owners, for interviewing me about my small business journey. It was a pleasure to discover this resource and share my experience with others.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m Jaime Shine, founder of Clearly Conveyed Communications. I’m a writer, marketing professional and social media strategist helping brands communicate with their target audiences.
While most kids were playing with blocks or dolls, I was publishing magazines and newspapers – feature articles, ads, sports box scores, the whole nine yards. From promotions director to advertising roles to branding projects, I’ve always been interested in all forms of marketing. That interest blossomed into a career path and led me to open my own business in 2012.
It’s been a crazy ride, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Growing up in an unincorporated village, owning a business isn’t something you do. I’ve learned so much about business – and myself – along the way.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
It was an aha moment 15 years in the making. One day at work, I realized that so many small business owners don’t know how to market themselves and can’t afford traditional agency fees. With my diverse background in marketing, I could start a business offering professional marketing services and experience at affordable rates. I could give brands a voice – via marketing, writing and social media services – so business owners could focus on the reason they’re in business, their sweet spot, and not struggle with marketing decisions, writing copy and developing social media strategies. While I work with brands of all sizes, I do have a soft spot for fellow small businesses and startups.
“It was an aha moment 15 years in the making.”
How much potential market share can you achieve in next 3 years?
I’m not focused on market share, because I realize I’m a small fish in a big pond. My focus is on finding the right mix of clients that generate enough revenue while still allowing me to deliver the personal service they expect.
What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read?
Three books have impacted my life the most.
A Big Life in Advertising by Mary Wells Lawrence gave me big ideas about my future (in marketing and advertising) when I read it in college. Lawrence left her mark in a male-dominated space and encouraged me to do the same.
On Writing by Stephen King is a memoir by my favorite author and a straightforward, practical guide to help writers perfect their craft. This book (and a professor) inspired me to pursue writing as a career.
Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking felt like it was written for me. There’s value in listening to all voices – not only the loudest – in business and in life.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
My home makes me smile every time I walk in the door. Even though I bought it at the worst possible time (right before the Great Recession), it was a smart decision. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for 10 ½ years!
Owning a home can be frustrating and expensive, so my worst purchase has probably been a service company who failed to live up to my expectations (or even show up).
What takes up too much of your time?
Owning a business takes a lot of time. I’ve implemented processes to handle administrative work more efficiently and am starting to outsource some activities, such as IT, but there’s still room to improve. The more I can focus on my clients and revenue-generating activity, the more my business will succeed.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
Learn from every opportunity. Pay attention and make yourself useful in every situation, from the classroom to volunteer work to your current job. It may not seem related to what you want to do, but there’s insight to be had if you’re looking for it.
Network, network, network. Your professional network can be a big boost to your career or business, but it’s up to you to build and maintain it. Get to know professionals in your industry, offer your help when appropriate and listen when they speak.
Plan and adapt. Starting a business is a big risk, but you can mitigate your risk by planning as much as possible. Why do you want to start a business? What market need are you satisfying? Who is your target audience or ideal customer? How will you pay for your business? Despite all your planning, you’ll need to adapt – to changing consumer tastes, market conditions and life occurrences. The ability to adapt is one of the biggest advantages of startups and small businesses, and you’ll need it to succeed.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
I’m impressed by Richard Branson, both his accomplishments and his outlook on life. He’s experienced successes and failures but learns from every situation, even today. He’s an innovative thinker, calculated risk taker and genuine human being.
Tell us about something you are proud of – about your greatest challenge.
This spring, my business celebrated its sixth anniversary. Most small businesses fail, so I’m proud that Clearly Conveyed Communications is still giving brands a voice. It’s been a long, winding road, but what a feeling of accomplishment!
How should people connect with you?
Visit my website for my full contact information, so we can connect via your preferred channel. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Are you an entrepreneur or small business owner? Vizaca can help you showcase your business, connect you with the right audience and promote your products and services worldwide.
Continuing on the small business journey,