I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly, a fellow Cardinal, at an Otterbein Student Athlete Advisory Committee networking event (wink wink, attend those events, Cards!) when I was a senior. One year later I found myself in the cubicle next to her at my internship at Corna Kokosing. Recently, thanks to social networking, I was able to touch base with this goal-getter via LinkedIn where I learned she had left her corporate job and started her own business, Local Anywhere Communications! *pauses to shout "get it girl" in my head.* Kelly had great advice to offer during the SAAC meeting two years ago and has even more after taking on the entrepreneur world.
The Reference Club: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Kelly: I own Local Anywhere Communications - a marketing consulting company that works with small and local businesses. I started Local Anywhere in 2015 on a whim by asking a restaurant owner I knew if they needed help with their social media. Luckily for me, they did. At the time I was working for someone else and doing social media on the side.
TRC: Boom. Already impressed, let's keep going. What made you want to do your own thing?
Kelly: I have had 3 different jobs since college (in only 5 years). Each one, I found myself searching for more. I wasn't content, I wasn't happy, and I wasn't satisfied. I had played with the idea of owning my own business before but never figured out what that business would be. After some soul searching, I realized that I needed to work with my passions--and one of my passions includes small businesses.
TRC: What were the first few tactical steps in starting your own business?
Kelly: This question is funny to me because I had no idea what I was doing when I started. So I did what most people do, ask their mom. I'm fortunate enough to have a host of entrepreneurs in my family and in my husband's family. Once I started to bring in money, I needed to figure out where to put it...so I opened a business bank account. I also needed to establish an LLC and an EIN number. I asked around and found a good invoicing system and I had my brother help me with my taxes. It was a collective group of people who helped me get on my feet. There is no textbook for starting your own business!
TRC: WE LOVE YOU, MOMS! Ok, serious question: salty or sweet?
Kelly: This is so hard. Gut reaction is salty--but I LOVE brownies and chocolate chip cookies (with sea salt on top...so both!)
TRC: What advice would you give to a young professional interested in entrepreneurship?
Kelly: Just go for it. Make the jump. If you think about it for too long you won't do it. And if you fail, you're young enough it won't matter in 15 years. Take chances. If you have a good product or service, work it.
TRC: "Work it", amen. What makes Local Anywhere different?
Kelly: I have a picture in my office of silhouetted navy elephants lined up, there are 12 of them, but one elephant is turquoise (Local Anywhere's color). The point is that there are lots of companies out there (and in Columbus!) that can do the same work that I do. The difference is that I take my client's work personal. I know that my clients, small business owners, rely on every dollar that comes in their door to feed their families. So, the work I do is super important. I take that seriously and to heart. I work hard because they work hard.
TRC: What (or who) are some things (or people) that get you through a typical work week?
Kelly: My coworker is now my dog. So my day now involves lots of petting, walks, and laughs (because he cracks the funniest jokes). It is amazing how much better my day is when I get outside for a walk rather than sit inside all day long.
My husband is super supportive so he knows that some nights I have to be on my laptop while in bed...and he doesn't make me feel bad about it. I also have an intern from Otterbein who has been a life saver. And lastly, workouts are a must for me, and so is red wine.
TRC: Fill in the blank: The best career advice I’ve ever gotten is_______.
Kelly: to take chances.
TRC: Tell us about the most nervous you’ve ever been for an interview. What happened?
Kelly: I was meeting with a potential client to talk about possibly working together. I had already submitted a proposal but we were meeting for the first time in person (lesson 1, do not do this), and I didn't have a good feeling in my gut about it. I didn't think they were going to be a good fit for me and vice versa, but I went into the meeting because they would have been a nice contract to have. I was so nervous and throughout the entire meeting, I felt like we were arguing because it was so tense. They asked a lot of tough questions and I didn't give great answers because inside I was a mess. In the end, I told them that I didn't think we'd be a good fit together, and they agreed. I should have trusted my gut in the beginning, but I learned a lot from the experience!
TRC: All experiences are good experience, right?! Describe your ideal Saturday in Columbus.
Kelly: My husband and I would wake up around 7 (this is sleeping in when we have a dog that disagrees otherwise), make coffee and breakfast. We would then go to Crossfit928 in Powell for our favorite workout of the week (Saturday's at our box are team workouts so it's loud, hard, and super fun). After Crossfit we'd probably get more coffee from the local shop in Powell, Espresso22. The afternoon would consist of either naps on the couch or shopping in Clintonville/Short North area, and ending with dinner at our favorite local spot, Local Roots.
TRC: What motivates you?
Kelly: I never want to work under someone else ever again. I want to be responsible for every dollar that comes in and goes out. Also, a lot of people made me feel dumb for ever leaving my corporate job, some even saying that it wouldn't work out and I would be back in a corporate job in a year or so. Those people are my motivation. I won't let this fail.
TRC: Where do you see Local Anywhere in 10 years?
Kelly: This is a tough question because honestly, I don't know. I'm working with a business coach to help me figure out what my plan is for the next two years, but beyond that, I don't know. I hope that we are still working with small businesses and still a small team. I hope that we don't lose our focus and that we don't lose sight of why we created Local Anywhere in the first place--to help small businesses get more customers. As long as I keep that at the front of all my decisions, I think we'll still be successful 10 years from now.