The Natural Introvert’s Guide to Being a CEO, with Amie Thompson

In 2017, Amie Thompson was in a spot in her career where she was working all the time and making great money…except that she never had an opportunity to actually spend it.  So one day she left, with a plan to take six months off and relax.  Six months turned into a year, and when she eventually came back to work, she had an opportunity to run Creative Allies. But for a natural introvert, is that what she wanted to do?

Transcript

Dana: Welcome everyone to Hustle and Gather, a podcast by inspiring the everyday entrepreneur to take the leap. I’m Dana 

Courtney: and I’m Courtney. 

Dana: And we are two sisters who love business. On this show, we talk about the ups and downs to the hustle and the reward at the end of the journey. 

Courtney: And we know all the challenges that come with starting a business. Between operating our wedding venue, doing speaking and consulting, and starting our luxury wedding planning company, we wake up and hustle every day 

Dana: But we love what we do. And today we’re talking with Amie Thompson, president and CEO of Creative Allies, a marketing firm for entrepreneurs.  Amie knows the ins and outs of running a business, as well as the importance of building a personal brand in order to ensure professional success.

 Amie has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs, particularly women and minorities. She loves talking about everything from the journey of a business owner to sales tips for introverts and non-salespeople.  Amie, welcome to hustle and gather. 

Amie: Thank you for having me. 

Dana: Oh, we’re so excited to have you today.

Courtney: Yeah, that’d be fun. So, for those people who are listening can you share a little bit more about what Creative Allies is and the services that you offer?

Amie: Sure, so we are a full-service marketing company, and what that means is really we can partner with other businesses and offer everything that they need marketing wise.

And it’s kind of funny, I usually tell people don’t ever say you can do everything right, but we have a really cool business model where we use our community of creatives to actually execute the work. So, what that means is usually we can say yes to almost everything, because we can go into our community and find the expertise that’s needed.

So, whether that’s just a small project that you have, or if you need us to just take on all of your marketing, we can do that. 

Dana: That’s really neat. I love that idea, like the community of experts. So, can you expand on that just a little bit? Like how did you find those experts? Are they all employed by you or are they just kind of in your general circle?

Amie: Yeah, they’re freelancers, and so we really keep our internal teams small. We have about four to six people at any given time. And then we have a partner network where it’s other entrepreneurs like myself who have smaller companies, but then we have this community of freelancers who don’t want to work full time.

They just want to do their creative thing. They could be writers, they could be social media experts, they could be web designers, pretty much everything you can think of, video folks, photographers. And the company actually started about 10 years ago. So, I did not start the company.

I joined 2018 started to run the company, but we started in the entertainment space.

And so, what the company did was graphic design work for entertainers, and so they built up almost a hundred thousand graphic designers around the world. So, the community is pretty huge. And then over the years, when we started to do other work, we started to just diversify a little bit, what kind of creatives we had in the community.

And so now we still have access to that large community, but I really tap into maybe 15, 20 people and then there’s graphic design. And like I said, all of their marketing services. 

Courtney: Yeah. And I’m looking at your Instagram. It has a very like entertainment industry, like super edgy kind of feel to what you guys produce for sure.

Dana: Yeah. I’m really intrigued. So, you, you didn’t start this company. 

Amie: That is correct. 

Dana: And if I’m correct, it was originally owned by two males. 

Amie: Yes. They were both in the music business, and so it was more about music, entertainment, artwork, things like that. And then over time, let’s see, myself and a couple of other investors, we invested in the company in 2015 and then you know, people just started to go their separate ways, wanting to focus on other things.

So, in 2018 is when I took over running the company. So, my background is not necessarily music. Yeah, I like it, but it’s not my background. So, we started to shift over a little bit more to the things that I had experienced doing, which was more around the business marketing. 

Courtney: Well, that’s really cool. I love hearing everyone’s like different way of owning a business, you know, cause we have we built our kind of from the ground up. So, we were like starting with nothing, building just as we kind of organically grew, and then we’ve talked to some people who’ve bought businesses and then I love how you started as an investor and then kind of were poised in a great position to be able to take it over one day. 

Dana: So, we’re curious because people talk about investing and I feel like sometimes it’s kind of, it doesn’t go over my head, like understand the concept of it, but I am such a, probably more of a fearful person, like, cause you’re investing in something that you don’t know if it’s going to be successful.

So, what led you to pick this business that you thought was a great use to invest in, I guess? 

Amie: Yeah, no, it’s a great question. So, we, like I said, I had an investment group, so it was not just me, but it was a significant amount of money, and so we did a lot of due diligence and first it’s what do they offer, and do we think that’s something that’s sustainable, something that can grow? But it’s also the people, right? It’s like what, who’s running the company now and who were the core, employees, but also the partners and the clients. So, it’s really trying to get an understanding of everything about the business and our intent.

I mean, I had a full-time job, we all did. So, our intent was absolutely not to run the company, but it just so happened that over time, I don’t know that the timing just worked out that a lot of the core people wanted to do other things. And so just slowly we came in and you know, just started to do more and more and then ended up where it’s like, we need to see you, you know, doing this full time and not somebody that has another full-time job.

So that’s how we went into it. But it’s definitely a risk, obviously, when you’re putting your hard-earned money into something, especially like in your case, you had control because you were doing it, right. So, you’re putting your money into someone else doing a good job. So that part was difficult, but we’ve invested in things over the years, not this big, but in smaller things over the years.

So that’s another probably tip is start small. You know, start with an amount of money that if you lose it, you’re not going to really care that much, right. And then just kind of increase that until you get more comfortable with taking on that risk because it is a risk. 

Courtney: I love that because I think oftentimes you think of investing, you just think more of like stock market or, you know futures or things like that, and it’s not necessarily tangible things. Do you know what I’m saying? Like, you’re not talking to the person whose company you’re investing in and it’s just very different for you. But I once heard the saying that scared money isn’t productive money. So, you can’t have scared money, and still be productive. It’s not going to grow.

Amie: Yeah. And this area, I mean, this area that we live in are so many small businesses and sometimes it just takes not a little bit of money, but you know, in the grand scheme of things, a little bit of money where they jumpstart their business and grow their business with that investment. So, there is a lot of opportunity for people interested in investing in business.

Dana: I love that. I know we’ve talked about it so often to like, cause our heart really is to really help other entrepreneurs. And I feel like for us, like if someone, there were many times you were just like, we don’t know how we’re going to make this happen, and it was doing very not smart things with our money to get where we were going, like maxing out credit cards, taking out 401ks.I mean, things that they tell you not to do is what we did, and so. 

Amie: Using your own money. 

Dana: Yeah. And it was, it was very stressful, I think. And it kind of cut us off at the knees for a while until we could kind of get our genuine feet under us. And so, something that you’ve talked about, but I’ve always been really nervous about like investing, not, I think just because I guess that I’m a little bit more risk adverse, so.

Amie: But I do think starting small and starting with businesses that you are passionate about. Yes, that makes a difference too. Like finding another business, that’s doing something in line with what matters to you, because then you really feel like you’re investing money, yes, but you’re also really investing in that business and what they’re doing. 

Courtney: So, you said you were in corporate America before that. So, what did you do? 

Amie: So, I’ve always done kind of operational work. So, I’ve done business operations, sales operations, marketing operations, but my last position was at a technology company here locally. And so, I ran, kind of all the business operations. So, HR, accounting, sales, things like that. And it just got to a point where I was making a ton of money and wasn’t actually doing anything. So, I just had, it was money in the bank, which, you know, sounds great, but also, it’s like I’m not really living. So, I decided I just wanted to take time off, and so I had planned to take about six months off and then that turned into a year and then I just liked it too much.

And I just was like, wait a minute. I don’t think I ever want to go back to work. And so that timing is around the time where the CEO of Creative Allies was moving on to something else. And so, I was like, maybe I should try this. So, it just kind of all worked out timing wise. I certainly didn’t ever set out to run a company.

It was just more, a little bit of the timing and then I found that working, not for myself, but not having a boss was something enjoyable to you. where I could, it’s not that you don’t work as hard, but you have more freedom than what you work on, where you spend your time, when you spend your time. You get to pick your own team, pick your projects.

So, it’s just a lot more freedom, I believe in running a business. 

Courtney: Oh, I totally agree with that. I mean, unless you have a partner.

Dana: I know I was about to say that. I was like picking your own team, unless you already have, you already have a team that 

Amie: doesn’t matter. 

Dana: Both at that same thing, but I think that’s so true. I think it’s such a, it’s such a great description that it’s not that you’re working less. I think a lot of times you work harder, it’s just you, you have freedom and how you work and when you work, what you work on.

Courtney: Yeah, we had a really hard time with that. Like when we started growing our team and like kind of Dana has a, off the charts, fairness meter, and it was very hard, like for her to differentiate between, not that Dana was doing less or that we were doing less, but that maybe our hours are different or like what our expectations of our employees was going to be different than what our expectations of, of us would be, right. 

Or like, we don’t have to preapprove our vacation, you know what I mean? Like we could just say, this is what we’re going to do. Can you cover, or, you know, does this jive or whatever. And so that was a hard transition for us to get to that mental space where it’s like, all right, I really do have some freedom and flexibility around here, you know?

Dana: Yeah. I think for us too, like we built our business so much on like, oh, I don’t say comradery, isn’t the right word, but just very much we’re in the trenches with them. And so, we never, 

Courtney: As like a badge of honor. 

Dana: Right, that definitely, I think is correct, but I think too, like we went through it all with them. And so, I felt like I didn’t want them to think that I thought I was better than them or whatever. My worry of their perception was greater than what it should have been, which is a hundred percent the truth. So, there was a lot of that, like trying to like get over myself in a lot of ways and say, no, I am, I am the boss of this company. And I can do these things I don’t have to justify, 

Amie: and you are different than the employees. 

Dana: Yes, we are different than the employees. I mean, at the end of the day, we take on all this stress and all that, you know, that comes with it. So yeah, I love that. 

Courtney: What kind of like rebuilding did you have to do, like once you kind of stepped into this role? Obviously, you’re kind of like rebranding a bit because you’re stepping out of an industry a little bit into new industries. 

Amie: Yeah, luckily there was no timetable, so that made a huge difference. Like there wasn’t, we had enough money for a little bit, you know, a year or so. So, there wasn’t this huge you know, pressure that we’ve got to change everything at once. And so really it was fairly organic in seeing that, you know, the entertainments of the way we were doing the business, it was not very profitable and it wasn’t significant revenue for each project. So, it was just like, okay, 

Courtney: Like a quantity mindset. 

Amie: Exactly. So, it’s like, we’ve got to find some other ways to make money so that we can, you know, if I need to hire someone else, right now, I can’t do that. I don’t want to have to, you know, put more money into the business just to hire someone. So, it was kind of that type of thing where it was more cleanup, but it wasn’t urgent. I mean, it was urgent, but it wasn’t urgent in this sense. 

And so just over time, it probably was a year and a half, two years or so before we really moved into doing the small business work. And then honestly it was probably earlier this year where we really shifted away from doing a lot of the entertainment stuff. So, it wasn’t anything that was quick. It was very much a, just a long transition to get there 

Courtney: No, I think that’s great. 

Dana: I know. But I think that’s so true though, like you always hear these things like, oh, was overnight that dah, dah, dah. I’m like, yeah, that is not accurate. 

Amie: Especially when you have, like, there was an existing team in place. It’s not like we’re going to say, hey, we’re going to do something completely different. So, it was just, it was a big transition.

Dana: Yeah, definitely. So, you’ve said that you are a natural introvert, correct? 

Amie: A hundred percent. 

Courtney: So, this is totally your jam. 

Amie: This is perfectly fine. No audience, just a couple people. No, this is good. 

Dana: So how did you get comfortable with sales and being the CEO? Because you were now faced with this company, like putting yourself out there. 

Amie: I’m not going to say I’m comfortable yet. I think it’s definitely a work in process. One of the things that, you know, when I took that break from work and didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I was thinking, oh, I could just do some consulting or what have you.

And I got this great piece of advice from one of my mentors and he said, you’re going to need to learn how to sell. And I was like, why? I was like, I can just hire somebody to do that. He was like, no. And he basically said, no matter what kind of business you have, there’s no one who will sell your business better than you.

And I was like, okay. And I didn’t believe him, you know, I thought, why hire somebody, whatever. But then over the years of running the business and having kind of the, not so successful track record of hiring people, it’s really true. When you run a small business, people are really buying you. They’re not just buying the services and products that you offer.

Courtney: So, it’s a little bit of a, no choice. 

Amie: Yeah, it’s true, to get as comfortable as you can get with being the face of the company. Right. And if you can’t get comfortable, then you might have to consider doing something else because people, you know, do business with people they trust, we’ve heard that. People do business with people they like, and the reality is that’s you. So, you have to be that face and you just have to figure it out. So, for me, I usually think about things as a means to an end. So, I don’t really think about, oh, I’m selling or, oh, I need to do business development. I just think of it more as, you know, if I’m going to maintain payroll, then we need clients, right.

And if I need clients, then I have to do this. So, it’s a little bit more structured for me. Think about it that way. 

Dana: That’s really interesting. And that’s, I think that’s a hundred percent accurate though. And for us, like the part of our business that is mostly selling ourselves as our planning company, and we rebranded last year because we were not the face anymore. And people were just going to use like, who is this? It says, it says C and D, but I’ve never seen C or D, 

Courtney: And they’re not available to you by the way. 

Dana: So, we just completely rebranded and made it so each planner basically, as like a mini company within our umbrella company, so that they could kind of sell themselves.

And we were also finding that, you know, every bride is different and we didn’t want to put ourselves in one specific market. You have experts, you know, that run the LGBTQ community. We had experts that were in like, that no more like the Indian culture, you know? But as a whole, like not everybody knew all those things.

Right, but I love that, but it’s so true that you have to be able to sell yourself because that’s what they’re buying, they’re ultimately buying you. 

Courtney: Yeah, and I think that for us, like when we did rebrand, that was one of the things is they would ask for, oh, I want Courtney or Dana and I’m like, really?

You don’t want Courtney or Dana. We don’t have the time for that. Like, you’re going to get the short end of the stick. You will be so much better served by one of our girls, and so it was trying not to convince the people anymore, right? So now they all do their own selling and they have their own presence. And I think it’s worked really, really well. 

Dana: Yeah. But this part of our business, like the consulting, the speaking, it’s all about selling ourselves and it’s kind of like, we’re a little rusty, like, you know, I mean, I don’t know how to toot my own horn here. Like I haven’t done this in a really long time, but you do, you have to go in there and say like, I don’t know, I’m an expert.

And I, I believe I’m an expert, right. But I’m a humbler person than just being like, I know everything and you should pay me this to tell you what I know, right. I have a really hard time with that, personally. Courtney does not.

Courtney: That’s because Dana really wanted to open like a 5 0 1 C3.

She thought we were a nonprofit for a really, really long time, and I think she’s most comfortable in those realms. 

Dana: It’s true. 

Courtney: Yeah. I know, it’s so true. But I love that, natural introvert. I actually call myself a high functioning introvert, and so I described like an introvert as somebody who is depleted by interacting with people, whereas an extrovert would be somebody who is filled up by interacting with people. And it doesn’t mean that you have more or less people skills or you’re like unable to sell, I think it’s just recognizing, like, I need breaks from this. I need to recharge after this. Like I can’t just go go, go, go, go.

Amie: Yeah, and I’m not going to get, yeah, more energized the more I go. 

Courtney: Right, you’re just going to get less, or drink more. I don’t know either way, either way, but my liver is going to take the hit. 

Amie: What you said before is, is really good because it’s about scaling your business. You know, when you’re first starting out, you’re just trying to build a business or, you know, just have a business that’s sustainable.

And then you all are at the point where you’re looking to scale it, then you move away from being the face and you’re trying to make sure that other people can shine and other people can help grow your business. So, I think that’s good. 

Courtney: Yeah. That’s a, that’s a fun place to be.

Amie: Yeah, I’m not there yet. I mean, that’s where I want to go, but that definitely is necessary when you’re ready to really grow your business. 

Dana: Yeah, I agree. We are like addicted to hiring people. 

Courtney: It’s true, just one more. 

Dana: Yes, I know. So, you were in corporate America and now you are the CEO, which I think is a pretty big jump. what are some things that you have learned about yourself being a CEO of a company?

Amie: Yeah, a lot. you know, that’s been probably like stressful and fun, you know, to like learn these different parts about myself. I’m not motivated by money, but I’m motivated by getting things done that hasn’t changed.

So that’s probably the one thing that’s been constant, even when I worked in a corporate job is I just really am very tactical, really enjoy the finish, like starting something, finishing something. And so that’s probably the one thing that stayed the same, the couple of things that I’ve learned about myself.

I learned that I was more creative than I thought actually didn’t, you know, I was much more, operational, like I said in previous jobs, and, so thinking about how to solve problems creatively, I told somebody this before, it’s like, you make better decisions when you’re broke. And so, in running the business, yeah, you don’t have the luxury of all of this money that you usually do in a corporate environment, or if your business is doing really well.

But you still have to get the same end result. So, you have to be much more creative in how you solve problems. You have to be more creative with your clients and how you can get things done. When we first started, you know, our rates were much lower than they are now. So, it’s like figuring out how to get the work done, and at those, you know, smaller rates. 

So, the creativity is something that surprised me actually, but was a good surprise. Like I was really excited about how I was able to figure things out. And then once I started to, we started to make more money. That didn’t change, it’s like still have that same mindset of I’m broke.

Right, even though you have more money. So, you’re not wasteful, not just doing things to do it. You’re not just hiring people to hire you’re really; every decision is because it’s really necessary for the business. And so that’s one thing that I learned about myself, but also feel like it was a really good thing for me and growing this business.

Dana: Yeah. I can’t say we’re not wasteful. We’re wasteful on, not people, but we’re wasteful on like every freaking, every other thing. Like, I don’t know. I mean, 

Courtney: I don’t think that’s true. 

Dana: Well, there was a year, so we were very hands off. Like we’re not micromanagers. And so, when we hired our second venue manager that we had, she was in charge of the budget.

So, we would create the budget at the beginning of the year, and she was charged with like inventory. So, she would order the toilet paper and the paper towels, and we are very financially frugal people because that’s how we grew up with like, just having very mindful. Like, all I wanted as a kid was those Kool-Aid crushers.

My parents would not buy them because they came in packs of four and there was three of us. So that was, yeah, whatever. 

You could buy three, and that would be 12.

I know, but it was too expensive. So, we always had to get, I mean, we still got juice boxes. I mean, mind you, but we were, my parents were very frugal and so, and we are very frugal people.

And so, I remember one time she was buying like laundry soap, but she bought it off Amazon, which you know, was fine, but it was like four times the cost. You could just get it at the grocery store. And I was like, why are you buying laundry soap off Amazon? She was just like, oh, it’s easy. I understand that you’re talking about $3, but like once you really looked into it, you realized everything was like that, like the toilet paper was much more expensive, the paper towel are so much more expensive, and it was all about convenience. And sometimes that should be the case, but not everything it’s the case. 

Courtney: It was the $6 light bulb, incandescent light bulb that put me over the edge where I was like, we’re examining all of this now. These are from the dollar store, literally is cost 99 cents somewhere. And you just spent 6.78. These aren’t even LED. 

Amie: Yeah. I think that, you know, it goes back to that kind of mindset of the business owner versus mindset of the employee. And it’s like, how do you get people to understand that? Because when you’re running the business, like you said before, you’re responsible for that end result, whether it’s profit or whatever it is, and the employee is not. So, their job is to get what you asked for, right? 

Courtney: She did, which is true. I mean, we were not specific. We were very specific after that. 

Dana: One question we love to ask our guests is did you ever have what we call an oh shit? Like you’re in the middle of it. One, this is like I’m in over my head or,

Courtney: or like, what have I done?

Amie: I have a lot of those. One thing in the transition I was talking to you about moving kind of from the entertainment piece, the business piece. We had a proprietary tool that was built, you know, before we came into the picture, and that tool was like on its last leg. And so, we were going to redo it, rebuild it, so to speak, make it better, et cetera.

But it was for a part of the business that in my mind, I knew wasn’t going to be long-term. It was a significant amount of money to rebuild this. And then once we got a couple of months in and they were running late and all this stuff, and then it’s like, why am I doing this? I do not have a technical background.

That’s actually not my strength to be kind of overseeing the vendor doing this. And yeah, it was just not good. I mean, it just wasn’t good. And then the end result took so long to get that I had really moved on and moved the company in a different direction. So, then it was just complete waste of money that we didn’t have.

You know what I mean? It was actually, we got another investment to do that, so it was a complete waste of money, and then I remember talking to one of my advisors and I just told him, I was like, you know, like I made the decision that we’re just moving away from this part of the business, da, da, da. and he was like glad you finally realize that, you know, and so he’s like, you just had a really expensive MBA.

Look at it that way, because it was a learning, but unfortunately, sometimes you have to go through things to learn the lesson, which sucks because it was like a year and a whole lot of money. And in the end, if I had not done it at all, we would have been just fine. Right, you know, we would have been just fine. I’ve still, this was almost two years ago and it’s still rubs me the wrong way, but. 

Dana: Yeah, for sure. That is agonizing. I hate that. When, you know, you made a misstep in the middle of it and you’re on what Courtney calls a conveyor belt, and you just got to finish it. You’re just like, Ugh. 

Amie: Yeah. You’re kind of stuck. I mean, you just got to…

Dana: Yeah, totally sucks. 

Courtney: It does suck. But hashtag boss life. 

Amie: Right, because you don’t learn the lesson yourself, then it’s one of those things where that’s maybe drawback and positive of running a business. Sometimes you just have to go through it. You know, there’s not a blueprint right in front of you or your business to say, this is how you should do things. It’s a choice. 

Dana: All right. I love that though. It’s so true because I think even if, you can read all the books, you can even have a business consultant. You can do all the things you’re supposed to do, and you still don’t have a blueprint. It’s still your business. It’s not going to be the same as anyone else’s business.

Courtney: Yeah. I mean, I totally agree. Like it’s hard to predict, you know, you can have all the training that you can pay for, and you still got to make on the fly decisions and sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they’re wrong. 

Amie: You just hope you have more, right than you do wrong.

Courtney: Yeah, right. Maybe that’s the key to a successful business. Just making more right decisions than wrong ones. All right. So, what has been the most rewarding part of like being the leader or the CEO being the boss, et cetera. What’s the most rewarding part for you? 

Amie: I would say late last year we had our first month of profitability, so that was exciting. I wanted to do a backflip and, but then it’s like, okay, that’s just one month. So, the key now is, you know, can we keep that consistently going? And so, we’ve been able to keep that consistently going through now, last week, excuse me, about two or three weeks ago, I hired two employees. 

And so that was exciting because I’m also a very frugal person and I’m also not a risk taker. So, I’ve got to see at least six months to where I can, I can make sure that they’re good as far as payroll goes. So that was really exciting where I was at a point where I’m like, I can actually add two people to the team. And then help, they can help grow the business.

And now I don’t feel like I’m doing everything by myself. And so, I can, you know, I still do some tactical things, but I do have the time to really plan to grow the business, and that’s a really great place to be. So, this year has been, this year has been great. You know, it’s not like we’re where I want us to be, but it’s like, I can see it, you know, and it’s moving in that direction.

Dana: Oh, the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Courtney: Yeah, I See those things kind of like, as like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Do you remember learning about that in college where you were like on that, like you’re on that survival, like you’re just trying to figure out how to eat and where your shelter is going to be?

And if you have clothes to wear that day and like some water, right. It’s like when you’re in that like layer of, or that level of like the hierarchy of needs, it’s really hard to like predict and future cast and like to really lead or steer or anything. And I feel like there was many years that we were just in that like survival mode and it was really hard to have any vision for where it was going and sometimes even hope for where it was going.

Like you were just making it through the day, making it through the week, making the best decision for now without any concern to maybe how that’s the worst decision for down the road. And it’s like amazing when you kind of start creeping out of that, and like out of that cocoon a little bit, and you’re like, huh, I could do more with this, or I actually have options when I’m like weighing these decisions. It’s really, really a cool feeling. 

Dana: I think, yeah, I think it like, it’s true joy too. I think it, you’re reminded, oh this is why I’m doing what I’m doing. Right, because I didn’t like where I was regretting it.

And you’re like, did I make the right choice? This is like the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life because you are in that, you know, survival mode. And then once you can finally look at it and you can see the future and you can see like, oh, like this amazing. It’s great, and you can, and team members, I think always are like such a boost of confidence and a boost of like just energy into the space, you know, that it makes such a difference. So, I love that. Well, congratulations getting there. 

Amie: Yeah, and the option piece that you mentioned is so true. Yes, because you’re no longer just like I have to do this little thing just to make it till tomorrow. And now you can really think about I could do this or I could do this and no matter what I choose, we’re going to be okay. If it’s wrong, you know, I hope it’s right but if it’s wrong, we’ll be okay. So yeah, it’s a great place to be. Much better than the previous year. 

Dana: Well, to kind of end on a great high note, what advice would you give those that are scared to start their own business? Because maybe they’re like you and they’re introverted, they don’t like the sales side of things, or I don’t know, just have that risk adverse personality where they’re just afraid to step out and do it.

Amie: I think the biggest piece of advice I’d give is not to rush. Right, a lot of times people have these ideas and they set their own, like self-imposed deadlines of when things need to be done. If you have a job and you’re getting paid, keep that job and start something on the side because running a business isn’t for everyone, and you don’t want to leave your job and then find out that running a business is not for you.

So do it, you know, however long you need to feel comfortable that, not just the money part of it, but that that’s the lifestyle you want, you know, kind of being on call 24 7 for things to happen. Especially in the beginning, you know, so I would give that one piece of advice. 

And then the second thing, if I can, if once you have started a business, one of the other things I’ve learned that has just been great is partnering and collaborating with people. there are so many other small businesses like mine who don’t do the exact same thing, but we collaborate together where we can help their clients. They can help our clients, but then I’m not having to hire more people and it’s been fantastic.

 And so probably the last six, eight months, we’ve been doing more of that where it’s, not really bartering, but kind of like, I’m going to throw you this business, but then you’re going to throw me business, or we’re going to work together on this project. And it’s a really, you know, like I was mentioning before that mindset difference between a business owner and the employee, sometimes you need to be around other business owners to really brainstorm and just plan things because unfortunately your employees don’t always understand.

They don’t always get that mindset that you need to have. So, when you collaborate with other business owners, that’s been the other thing that has been really helpful to me once you actually do start your business 

Dana: yeah. I think it creates such a great community too. And I mean, I know going through 2020. It was so nice to have that foundation of other business owners that I respected and that we had a relationship where I could call. And I knew I could be honest, I knew, I could say, like, I really F-ed up at this moment. Like, what would you do? And not, not be afraid of like judgment or like them gossiping about it or anything like that, but having that community, I think it makes it so much less lonely and isolating 

Amie: Lonely Yeah. But the reality is there are so many people doing exactly what you’re doing. We’re all out here doing the same thing, and so you can, like when you’re in survival mode, you’re not thinking about that. And so, when you’re out of that, you’re thinking about the networking and the things that I don’t personally like, right, but it’s been a really good benefit to get out there and meet other business owners and not just for professional development, but also to help grow my business. So, it’s been good.

Dana: I love that, yeah. 

Courtney: That’s great advice. Yes, I love the not to rush. Yeah. 

Dana: Which is so, I mean, I don’t think anyone ever says to rush, everyone was like, just do it. Just do it. Just jump in feet first and 

Amie: No. Don’t. 

Dana: Like just put your toe in the water. Make sure it’s what you want, the right temperature. All right, now you can go all the way in. 

Thanks everyone for gathering with us today to talk about the hustle. For our episode with Amie, we’ve picked an Amaretto Sour, her favorite cocktail. We hope you’ll get the chance to make one this week, and cheers to high functioning introverts. To learn more about Amie and her businesses, visit creativeallies.com or follow her on Instagram at amie_ceo or at creativeallies

Courtney: And to learn more about our hustles visit canddevents.com, thebradfordnc.com, and hustleandgather.com or follow us on Instagram at canddevents, at thebradfordnc, and at hustleandgather. If you liked the show, be sure to subscribe and leave us a rating and a review.

Courtney: This product is a production of Earfluence. I’m Courtney.

Dana: And I’m Dana.

Courtney: And we’ll talk with you next time on Hustle + Gather.

Full Episode Transcript

Hustle and Gather is hosted by Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, and is produced by Earfluence.  Courtney and Dana’s hustles include C&D Events, Hustle and Gather, and The Bradford Wedding Venue.

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