Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Carolyn Higgins

The Entrepreneurial Spirit - Carolyn Higgins

by Wendy VanHatten

Carolyn Higgins, of Fortune Marketing Company, is definitely an entrepreneur with an entrepreneurial spirit. Why is this so apparent? It’s her attitude.

In fact when asked what entrepreneurial spirit means to Carolyn, she tells me the “entrepreneurial spirit is more than being a business owner; it’s an attitude. An entrepreneur is someone who veers off the beaten path because they are curious and want to see if there is a better, faster, easier way to get where they’re going.”

For Carolyn she says an entrepreneur will look at a product or a process and wonder how it can be altered to make it better. “The entrepreneurial spirit is daring, adventurous, curious, and analytical.”

That’s Carolyn…she knows what she’s talking about. She’s in the marketing business.

We all know what marketing is. Many of us know we need to market more, better, or different but we do not all know how to make it better, especially for our own businesses. That’s where Carolyn comes in as a Strategic Marketing Planning Consultant.

Carolyn tells me she is trying to build a seven figure business that will help small to medium sized businesses succeed by creating and implementing strategic marketing plans and systems for them. “I want to build a brand that is as well known and respected as Duct Tape Marketing and Guerilla Marketing, with books, classes, workshops, videos, and a team of consultants on staff to help business owners.”

Just how does she plan on achieving this? As the president of her own company, her role is to drive the strategic direction of her company. Eventually she will get to the point where she will manage the business, write, and speak to promote the brand. She can then hire others to run the day-to-day aspects of her business.

She practices exactly what she tells others to do. She grows her own business using the marketing plan she created specifically for that. Some of her tactics include speaking, blogging, social media, networking, public relations, referral marketing, and so much more.

Why does she do what she does? “I do what I do because I want to help others succeed. When I sold advertising I saw such a need for small business owners to get help developing effective marketing strategies. There are so many people out there who are great at what the do, but just don’t understand how to effectively market their business to get the customers they need. My goal is to help them.”

It comes back to her passion. In speaking with Carolyn you can tell she is passionate about helping others and helping them with their marketing needs. The thing is…many small to medium business owners do not even realize they need more marketing assistance. That’s where Carolyn steps in.

She says she has a couple of passions, really. “Professionally I’m passionate about using strategy and research to develop good marketing plans. I’m also passionate about teaching business owners the difference between good and bad marketing. Personally, I’m passionate about nature and the outdoors. I love backpacking and camping.”

What drives Carolyn to succeed as an entrepreneur? Probably many things, although she says her desire to never have to work for anyone again is right up there. Like most entrepreneurs she loves her life as it is now. “I love being in control of my destiny. I love making my own decisions for my company. I love the flexibility in my life. I love that being a business owner has allowed me to become more active and involved in my community. I guess you could say what drives me is my love for the lifestyle; I get to help people on so many levels now – AND, I actually feel like I do help people. I never felt that I made a difference in the corporate world.”

Did she take risks when starting her business? Of course. “I took some financial risks and completely changed my standard of living. I risked a steady paycheck, saving for retirement, my savings, and my severance package. I also risked failure. I used to think of myself as someone shy and insecure- I had to throw myself out there and do things that were a little uncomfortable at first, like networking.” Was she afraid of taking those risks? “Not at all. In fact, sometimes I think I have an unhealthy tolerance for risk. In fact I view risk as a challenge.”

Carolyn started out by investing in Duct Tape marketing. This system utilizing a mentor, a process, and a proven system allowed her to hit the ground running with everything she needed to get her business off the ground. And even though she is no longer a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, she truly believes that investment the first year was well worth it. Any regrets? “I’ll say my only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner!”

Success to Carolyn means having the ability to live life the way you want. Having both the time and resources to enjoy the things she loves is continued success. Has she achieved success? “Not yet!”

Does she see herself as an expert? “No. I see myself as someone who has some experience and knowledge that I can use to help others. But I do not see myself as an expert.” I would have to say she is well on her way, though.

Carolyn understands how important profit is to any size business, including hers. Like so many entrepreneurs, profit is important…but not the only important factor. In fact, she’s working on getting a bookkeeper to help her with that aspect of her business.

When asked about seeing herself as having the entrepreneurial spirit, Carolyn pauses. She didn’t used to see herself with that spirit. Now…“it wasn’t until I was in business a couple of years that I began to really think of myself as an entrepreneur. So now, yes I see myself having entrepreneurial spirit.” It is evident to me she has that entrepreneurial spirit. Her focus on businesses and what they need, the way she listens to her clients, and how well she prepares plans for others to succeed gives her an edge any of us in business should pay attention to.

Her advice for those just starting out in business? “ Research. Research. Research and Plan, Plan, Plan!!! It is critical to understand the market, your potential customers and how and why they buy what you sell, your competition, your product or service, and what problem it solves BEFORE you open for business. If you don’t’ understand these things you’re going to waste a ton of time and energy.”

Learn more about Carolyn at:

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