With an unremitting passion for communications, Angela Delmedico founded Elev8 Consulting Group to help everyone from solopreneurs to large corporations create and launch highly effective marketing campaigns that provide maximum ROI. Follow her @elev8cg.
What is the first thing you did to turn your current business from an idea into a reality?
I determined my company name and had my logo created. That was the very first step. It’s always awesome to see that logo. But what really turned it into a reality was landing my very first client. I had been talking with friends about starting my own marketing/publicity company for a few months, and was in the process of leaving my last company. I had a lot of doubts and wasn’t sure about going for it. At about that time, one of my oldest friends happened to chat me up on an airplane to her seatmate, a complete stranger, who needed marketing help. I landed my first meeting and my first client from a person across the country who had only met me via phone, based solely on my experience. That really turned it into a reality and propelled me forward. It was the boost I needed to turn my dream into a reality.
What is the scariest part of being a young entrepreneur and how can others overcome this fear?
I think the fear factor is subjective to our experiences and where we’re each at individually. When I started my first company launch, my fear factor was taking that initial leap and going for it. Ultimately, that fear came down to money. Could I do this and be successful? There are not always safety nets in entrepreneurship known in the corporate world as steady paychecks, 401(k) and company matches, benefits, having a team to work with, etc. Choosing entrepreneurship is like jumping off a cliff. But once you jump, it’s exhilarating. Those fears can change and evolve over time as your company grows. Once you conquer one fear, another comes up if you let it. When I started, my biggest fear was taking the leap and whether or not I was good enough to make a decent income. Now, four years later, it’s about maintaining a work/life balance while I’m experiencing mass success, and scaling at the same time so I can work on my business, not in it.
One of my favorite plaques hanging in my office after recently attending a Tony Robbins conference is a quote of his: “Life is found in the dance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear.”
Celebrate the accomplishment before you’ve accomplished it. I was recently at one of Robbin’s biggest Unleash The Power Within conferences in Los Angeles, packing 10,000 people from all over the world. I had intense anxiety about an upcoming fire-walk exercise, popular at these events. I didn’t think I would actually do it when I signed up for the conference. I figured I’d just get whatever other information I could from the four-day event. But I did it. It starts with small steps (and of course, he offered some safety tips and visualization exercises prior).
I lined up within a crowd of 10,000 strangers. It was about midnight on the first night of the conference. I couldn’t see anything in front of me. There were drums. It was all pretty cool and terrifying at the same time. I turned around a couple times, ready to bail, but I forced myself to get back in line. And I serendipitously found my assigned fire-walking partner whom I had lost in the crowds. It’s dark, I couldn’t see, and I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be. I didn’t know who would be around to help me through the journey. Was I going to burn my feet? Was I going to forget to think whatever that phrase was he mentioned and mess it up? (I did forget to think it, I was too busy celebrating getting to the other side.) Visualization is a powerful tool. Feeling that fear and going for it anyway is absolutely empowering — just like entrepreneurship.
Were you ever told not to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams? Who told you that, what did they say and why did you ignore them?
I was never told not to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. I come from a blue-collar family. My parents had three children at a young age. They didn’t really get to dream. I don’t think they mind that I do.
What is the No. 1 thing you wish you’d known starting out and how did you learn it?
I wish I had known that yes, I would succeed. But that takes all the fun out of it! I learned that by doing. My self-confidence kept building. I learned by overcoming each and every obstacle — by celebrating each and every accomplishment and by going out of my comfort zone many times. It’s empowering.
What do you recommend all new founders do for their business — or their personal lives — that will help them the most?
Work hard. Be persistent. Celebrate every single accomplishment. Be kind to yourself. Exercise regularly, eat right and take time for your family, friends and social life. Entrepreneurship can be an all-consuming endeavor. Sometimes we alienate others by accident. Sometimes they don’t understand. And that’s part of the journey. Balance is important too.
How do you end each day and why?
I end the work day by celebrating what I’ve accomplished. It could be one minute of just simply assessing what I’ve done — even if it’s many small steps towards the bigger outcome. I do this with personal goals, health goals and business goals.
To segway my day into personal time, I mentally close out projects, dump everything else into my calendar for the next day, and tune back into life with social activities and hobbies. Because of my perfectionist nature and a supercharged work drive that used to culminate really long days, this process is something I’m still honing. I used to feel guilty if I wasn’t working 15-hour days. I used to be overwhelmed by the many to-do lists and tasks necessary to achieve the goal. This leads to burnout quickly.
For me, to remain successful, I continuously manage that workload, delegate, avoid burnout and have some fun along the way. I’m integrating the 80/20 rule, known as the Pareto Principle, which says that 20 percent of any effort will usually provide 80 percent of the results. Anthony Robbins takes that a step further and applies the 80/20 rule to the study of success: “Eighty percent of success is due to psychology — mindset, beliefs, and emotions — and only 20 percent is due to strategy — the specific steps needed to accomplish a result.”
All of these small steps do lead to successful outcomes. Every entrepreneur knows they need a great product, service, widget, etc. But to be successful we need to remain innovative, creative, to continuously see new opportunities. And that usually doesn’t happen overnight. It happens in increments.
What is your best PR/marketing tip for business just starting up?
Build an effective brand and a consistent message across all of your platforms, from your staff to your product or service to your logo, website, marketing collateral, social media and messaging. If you don’t have time to do all of that, hire a great marketing/PR firm that has a proven track record of success and excellent testimonials. If you’re doing something newsworthy, hire a PR firm to help get the word out. You can increase awareness very quickly with media coverage. Whether you hire a company or not, be authentic everywhere you go, in everything you do. You are your brand. Create an amazing company culture. This will consume a good part of your life. Build real relationships — these are what make the world go around.
What is your ultimate goal? What will you do if/when you get there?
My current goal is to scale my business and have a life, too. I am working on collaborative partnerships and sourcing more top talent that meets my company expectations to deliver highly exceptional, quality results and ROI. High quality is key.
What will I do when I get there? I don’t believe there is a “there.” The destination or goal will keep growing as soon as you accomplish each milestone. I’m continuously growing and so is my business. The key is to enjoy the journey every step of the way. Along my journey, I’ll try to take more bonafide digital detox vacations, most likely on a beach, to recharge my batteries. It always recharges creativity too. I travel a lot, but I’m usually always working.
Another goal, on the stressful days especially, is to always remember my “why.” I started Elev8 Consulting Group in 2012 to help entrepreneurs, startups, businesses, and nonprofits with strategy and highly effective marketing and publicity campaigns. I learned the hard way in a previous company product launch that there are a lot of companies that underdeliver and overpromise, usually for a hefty sum. My passion is in helping businesses set and exceed their goals and objectives and provide a stellar ROI while doing it.