Employee to Business Owner

From Advertising Agency Employee to Entrepreneur

Ruta Fox started a business and made a million dollars her first year. Before that she worked for a global advertising agency. Curious how Ruta made the transition from employee to entrepreneur? This interview explains exactly how she did it.

They say diamonds are a girl's best friend.

They certainly have done wonders for Ruta Fox, who left a job to start a jewelry company in New York City that has done exceptionally well.

Ruta was nice enough to tell us about how she got into her new business.

Ruta, you've successfully made the jump from employee to entrepreneur. Tell us, what type of firm were you working at when you were let go? How long had you been there?

I worked at G2 Branding, as Associate Creative Director. G2 is the integrated marketing and branding division of the worldwide advertising agency, Grey Global Group.

When the dot com meltdown happened in 2000, I was let go.

I worked there a year or so. I previously had years of copywriting, marketing, branding and PR experience, as well as being a free lance writer as well.

You've bounced back and have your own company now, right? What is it and what do you do there?

I started DivineDiamonds.com when a friend asked me to get her a small pinkie ring, after seeing a huge one on Oprah.

After several girlfriends asked me to get rings for them, I came up with the idea of The Ah Ring. Ah stands for A, available and h, happy. It's the first and only diamond ring designed and marketed to single women to buy for themselves and wear on their pinkie.

There were rings for married women and engaged women, but nothing on the market for single women.

I am the President and CEO. I do it all. Except manufacturing. I handle financials, production supervision, customer service, marketing, promotion, and advertising.

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur instead of simply looking for another job?

It was divine guided to me! I just had the idea, and a friend suggested I visit her friend who worked at Oprah's magazine to sell some rings there.

I went in with a presentation, and they FED Ex'd it to Oprah and the rest is history. I got a one page editorial placement on the O List in O magazine and that started it all.

That's amazing national exposure for a new business. Was this exactly how you planned to launch your business?

I fell into the business.

I was not originally planning to be in the jewelry business, but the opportunity was presented, so I ran with it. With placement on the O List, the phone rang off the hook, and I just could not say no.

I had to proceed. From my presentation, they thought I was already a viable business. I thought it was going to be a one month venture, as the magazine is a monthly, and it's been 9 years so far.

Owning a business is very different from working as an employee. What are some of the biggest differences you've noticed? What do you miss? What don't you miss?

The biggest difference is all the success is yours, and all the mistakes are yours, whether you make them or not. For example, if UPS screws up, it's still your fault and you have to rectify.

I miss the camaraderie of the office, as I work at home by myself. I don't miss the office politics and the ineffectiveness of how people do business. I miss someone to bounce ideas off of, but I have a big network of phone friends.

What advice would you give to somebody who is leaving the life of working for a company to go out on their own?

You must know yourself. I was previously a freelance writer, so I was used to working on my own and meeting deadlines. If you cannot be disciplined, you are headed for failure.

There is no one to tell you what to do, or when or how. You have to trust your gut, and make decisions.

Know your skills, and be honest, then you can adjust and perhaps delegate the things you are not good at.

Also, if you are a creative, be sure and not give over the financial control to someone else, as tempting as it seems. It's a sure way to get embezzled or taken advantage of.

Very good advice for new entrepreneurs, Ruta. Anything else you'd care to share with us regarding the transition from working as an employee to starting a business?

Most successful entrepreneurs, like me, say it's the best thing that happened to them!

I made a million dollars my first year in business in my apartment, by myself, in a business I had no background in.

That is phenomenal. Listen, thanks so much for sharing your experience with us, Ruta. We really appreciate it!

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