MWMC April “Entrepreneur Showcase”

Poignantly, rain poured from the skies as news broke of Prince’s passing. Late afternoon, the rain broke and the sun came out… and then rain came back in a torrential downpour. It was like a huge ugly cry for Minneapolis.

But then the sun came out again and helped fully shift mourning into celebration – a celebration of creativity and community. As thousands of people gathered at First Avenue, across town in NE 50 women and 1 dude gathered at Rocket 55’s gorgeous new offices. We celebrated entrepreneurs and their unique paths. We delved into what inspires them to persevere and what lessons they’ve learned.

This all-entrepreneur showcase and celebration was hosted by Minnesota Women in Marketing and Communications (MWMC) and moderated by entrepreneur Tami Enfield of Brand Yourself Consulting.

Each panelist had a different entrepreneurial germination story:

CLICK’s leader, and our “sparkplug”, Kat Duncan colorfully describes her start in entrepreneurialism as “being handed a company on a silver platter”… it didn’t quite exactly happen that way, but it’s a great line! The financial and operations support of an investor/silent partner was Kat’s impetus.

Amee McDonald’s path to launching jabber logic began when personal illness caused her to self-reflect. She ultimately reconnected with her true purpose and values, inspiring her create an agency that helps non-profits most effectively help others.

Andrea Jones and Molly Hanten combined their super-fitness-powers in 2014 to start Alchemy 365. As previous co-workers, they’d often make light, casual, almost joking comments about starting their own thing together. The fire of their partnership sparked over Andrea’s kitchen table and has ignited into becoming the hottest/trendiest locally-owned fitness company around.

All acknowledge the value of networking in their business-creation and continued development efforts, so if you’d like to hear the full scoop on their leap into entrepreneurialism, you should take them out for a coffee!

Here are our Top 3 Takeaways from the panel conversation:

1. Capitalize on cross-promotion and synergistic support. Amee found Impact Hub, which supports social entrepreneurs. With support from Impact Hub and Amee’s professional mentors, jabber logic has grown into a two-pronged entity – an agency servicing 30 clients and a training side that educates over 300 small business and nonprofits on maximizing their marketing efforts.

2. When contemplating support for the “nuts and bolts” – attorney, financial advice, etc. – tap into your network, but listen to your gut. If the intro conversation with potential attorney doesn’t feel right, or if you’re not feeling great about the services once engaged, move on. Some of this is trial and error. If you don’t know where to start, Kat recommends researching who is the best at what they do, and network with them. Even if you can’t afford their services, they will have a solid recommendation.

3. Community building needs to be 100% authentic. Both Andrea and Molly had previously acted as brand ambassadors for other fitness organizations. Those experiences were extremely informative to their creation of a brand ambassador program for Alchemy. The intention needs to be true; inauthentic or “hired” brand ambassadors who don’t truly resonate with your brand values (or fully live them) with come across as hollow. ENGAGE with (and HIRE) the RIGHT people. Awesome photography is also very important.

CLICK’s a little melancholy today, but ultimately very proud of the creative community here. We sometimes operate way under the radar of the rest of the country, and maybe that’s okay. Or maybe we’ll start getting our due. We might feel like Minneapolis is a little less cooler or funkier today, so let’s let our freak flags fly this weekend and beyond. Keep the celebration going, and keep inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs who are uniquely our own.

Those of you fortunate enough to snag a ticket to Monday night’s LIVE Professional Humans + Mpls MadWomen podcast, keep you freak flag in check over the weekend. We’ll need your energy and funk at the Aster Café. If you didn’t get a ticket, listen live and watch for our Top 3 Takeaways!