Based in Cadillac, Michigan, Kendra Herington is an employee-turned-entrepreneur who has a lot of good advice to share.
We asked Kendra to discuss her path from working as an employee to being her own boss.
So, Kendra, what type of firm were you working at before you became an entrepreneur? Was it part of a downsizing or layoff or did you just decide it was time to quit?
I left my previous employer voluntarily. I was working in eCommerce Marketing for a large footwear manufacturer and retailer. I was there for 2 years and had spent 7 years at another large corporation in their Advertising department.
You've got your own company now, right? What is it and what do you do there?
That is correct. I am the proud owner of Arrive Marketing and Events. I help other business with their marketing needs, as well as event management.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur instead of simply looking for another job?
When I moved to a new town, I started looking for a new job and just wasn't finding anything.
I have always wanted to work on my own, so I finally decided it was now or never. It was scary (it still is sometimes) but I knew I had to give myself the opportunity to make a go of it.
Did you buy a business or start a business from scratch?
I started Arrive from scratch. For me, it was the best way to go because I already had a vision of what I wanted to do. I wanted to have the ability to take all of those years of daydreaming about how it would be and make it a reality.
How did you decide what kind of business to go into?
My passion has always been marketing and event management.
I enjoy the ability to be creative and analytical at the same time. I have been in advertising and marketing for years and have never gotten tired of the job itself. There is always something new to try and there are so many ways to market a business that it never gets boring, you are always learning.
When I first started out it was all about print, radio, T.V…. but now there are blogging, podcasts, social media, and a million other ways to consider for any business. It's exciting.
As far as event management, my nickname used to be called "The Planner" among my friends. I was always trying to get everyone together and plan something entertaining for all of us to do. Even at the companies I was working for, I was planning flag football games, coordinating softball teams and getting everyone together after work for everyone's birthdays.
Over the years I began meeting people that needed help and started planned some fundraising events in my spare time. I loved it and I know right away that this is what I needed to be doing. But I didn't want to completely give up on Marketing and Advertising either, so I'm doing both!
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?
People!!! I miss having people around me.
Right now I work by myself, as all of my graphic designers photographers, etc. are freelancers that I have met over the years in the business. Sometimes I miss taking a break and having a quick chat with a co-worker or bouncing ideas off of other people. I am a very social person and being alone all day takes it toll on people like me.
Plus I have had the pleasure of working around some really great people (even great leadership). A steady paycheck was nice too, but that just gives me something to work harder for. Back then, it didn't matter how hard I worked, I saw the same numbers on my paycheck at the end of the week.
I don't miss a lot about the corporate world. A great review and a terrible raise, meetings to talk about meetings and follow up meetings on those meetings, cafeteria lunches, gray cubicles for miles and miles and most of all (because I live in Michigan and it's winter right now) I do not miss the drive in at rush hour on icy roads and scraping the snow off my car at the end of every day.
What advice would you give to somebody who is leaving the life of working for a company to go out on their own?
Because I am a spiritual person, I would pray, meditate or whatever it is you do, to get a clear idea of the path that you should take. Then, if you feel like it's the road to take, go for it.
Sure, it takes planning and a lot of thought (it took me a month to come up with my business name) but you have to just jump in. Tell yourself you can do it, pray often and make sure that your business is built around your core values and beliefs. Then run it that way.
Anything else you'd care to share with us regarding the transition from being an employee to becoming a business owner?
As they say, "If you keep on doing what you always did, you'll keep on getting what you always got."
Very true. Thanks so much, Kendra, for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us. Good luck to you in growing your company!