During the recession, Carla Sandine couldn’t find many job opportunities in the digital marketing industry. As a single mother, she had to find a way to support her family and decided to open a business in Phoenix. In 2011, she launched a digital marketing firm Highway Twenty and hired her brother as the web developer with no capital.
“I started this business because it was my dream. We grew our team, scaled services, and worked with some of the biggest and best brands in Phoenix.”
The hard work paid off: her agency was acquired in Fall 2016 by Casual Astronaut, and she is now the Chief Marketing and Communication Officer for PATH.
It’s a Rollercoaster
Most founders aren’t prepared for the mental rollercoaster that lies ahead in startup life. Being at the top can get lonely, scary, and stressful when you know all the tough decisions stop with you.
“[It’s about] who can survive the rollercoaster. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, for some of us we’re starting a few steps back,” Sandine said.
“If you run a business then you are familiar with the ups and downs of the business. I think so much of surviving as an entrepreneur is your mindset. Looking back, I would have really focused on my mindset and knowing that the next peak will come and the valleys become deeper and further apart because there is more risk.”
When the business is going through challenges, make sure you think about how to approach your team to help you through the valley.
“It’s important as to how you interact with your team, especially when you are in the valley. Don’t dump your entire mental state on your team, there’s a fine line to bringing people along to help with this challenge,” Sandine said.
Build a Diverse Team
In a recent McKinsey report researchers found that “there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance: for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.”
While owners need to hire the right person to get the job done, having a commitment to building a diverse team is part of creating change.
“You have to hire people who get the job done. [But,] it’s having a commitment to [diversity] and showing who you are as a company out loud and showing them what type of culture you have and care about having a diverse team. If you can’t find a diverse leadership team, then hire a junior diverse team and focus on it. Do the work and find them. It’s the right thing to do,” Sandine said.
Read more about the Phoenix startup ecosystem on TechCo
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