We had the good fortune of connecting with Carrie Phair and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carrie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
If given the option to work 8 hours for someone else, or 16 hours a day for yourself (sometimes unpaid), which would you choose? Some of us pick the latter. Call it crazy or entrepreneurship, but either way, it’s equally grueling and glorious. Straying from a steady paycheck, a dedicated team, and an established brand was a risk. I had been in marketing for over a decade but not in one specific sector. Many folks establish a deep vertical base (say hi-tech or healthcare) before going out as a consultant., but the call of working for myself and not be siloed into one industry, was loud. So I took the plunge and opened my own strategy and marketing firm. Fortunately, marketing is one of those functions that can be applied across almost any business, and the learnings from one can be reused and threaded into a new campaign elsewhere. And it’s actually what made me want to start my own boutique marketing consultancy: the chance to stretch my brain and implement insights into a variety of small to medium-sized businesses. The thought was and is that by going out on my own I can capitalize on my top priorities: accountability, untapped creativity, efficiency, and efficacy. As a sole proprietor, you’re only as good as your last work, as there’s no buffer to hide behind. While it can be very hard to hear no’s or to have to accept direct feedback, the highs from wins with customers and successful and smart campaigns more than offsets the challenging moments. The time-saved to only working on things that personally matter, working from anywhere, less admin, and no need for corporate rigamarole are also huge benefits. But the best thing? I don’t get the Sunday Scaries anymore. You’re probably familiar with the internal flutterings accompanied by a heavy cloud of disappointment that the weekend is ending and a pressure-packed workweek is looming? Well turns out when you work for yourself and you’re at the helm, you actually look forward to what’s coming in the next week. Instead of feeling like it’s something you have to do, it’s refreshing to know you get to do what you WANT to do. It may not all be sunshine and roses (unless you design cards for Hallmark) as building and maintaining still remain challenges when working for oneself. Even in a project, you know you’ve still got to keep your eyes out for the next. But at the same time the fact you can choose which project is empowering. So glad I took the plunge and eager to support clients as we build (and rebuild) here in 2021!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am the sole proprietor of Stated, a marketing consulting firm partnering with small and medium-sized brands as the fCMO to create smarter, insightful, and compelling outreach at every stage of the funnel and on any budget. Inspired by two entrepreneurial parents, backed by a degree in economics, an MBA, and Fortune 20 experience and governed by efficiency and efficacy, I bring pep, strategy, and clarity to the myriad of marketing options. The thing I love best about consulting? Being my client’s biggest fan! I want to know their skills, their talents and shout those from the rooftops. It can be so hard to market yourself, but selling someone else, when you truly believe in them, is so powerful. By partnering with companies I strive to better match their problems with smart solutions creatively and effectively. My brand is an extension of my personality. I like things to make sense and so I naturally start with strategy. Once we have that as our direction then the skies the limit for what we can do. to get there. The marketing toolbox continues to expand (just think what digital marketing and social platforms have enabled in the last decade) and so there are truly no dead-ends in marketing. Advertising is fun and I love the challenge of coming up with headlines and piloting new media. Perhaps my clients put up with a few more puns than expected, but in the end, the hope is to bring both enjoyment and higher ROI to each activation.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve lived in San Diego over half my life now and so the list of favorite spots would be difficult to cover in one day. But here’s the highlight reel: 1. Sunrise run at low tide through the north county beaches. Great time to pick up a rare sand dollar and have the sand to yourself. 2. Breakfast at Pacifica Breeze Cafe in Del Mar. Who doesn’t love brunch on the balcony? 3. Tour de Coronado. Want to pretend you’re on vacation in your city, well, head to the island. Fun window-shopping and a bike ride around the outskirts of the city make for great sight-seeing and year-round summer feelings. You have to go find out for yourself about the ghosts in the Del or play with a puppy at the dog beach. May as well bring a picnic or grab lunch at a cafe here! 4. Afternoon drive along the coast, and perhaps a little time to read or nap! 5. Dinner? Well, it would only be right to either make some fish tacos at home or head out to En Fuego or GalaxyTaco for some classics. 6. TIme to find some outdoor music and a little dessert (did someone say Handels?)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This shoutout goes to LinkedIn and a blast from the past. Two years ago I saw a post from a former coworker asking for marketing support for one of her newly-formed consulting firm’s clients. In truth, we hadn’t stayed in close contact, but whether or not I was right for the position, I thought it a nice excuse to catch up and find out what she’d been up to. And glad I did! Deepa and her entrepreneurship have helped me grow mine. Deepa Seshan. You may miss her at first: she’s not the loudest voice in the room or flashing her credentials. But she is your quiet cheerleader. I met Deepa over a dozen years ago working across different marketing programs in our corporate marketing department. Fast forward to this particular LinkedIn post, and what has turned out to be a continued mentorship. Deepa offered me a chance to partner with her clients and also kind leadership and insights from her own days as a startup. Perhaps it’s because she’s also a professor, but she has a way of sharing information without preaching and a kind style that draws you in. She’s real. She’s tough. She’s thoughtful. And a darn good business lady. I am so grateful for her and continue to keep her in the back of my mind when negotiating deals or up-leveling. So thank you Deepa!