Episode 11 -Vicki McCullough, President of Sequitur Marketing, discusses her move from the corporate world to running a niche marketing consulting business.
In this episode, Marc interviews his good friend, Vicki McCullough. Vicki has more than 20 years of corporate experience in marketing, communications, sales, and account management. She is the Founder and President of Sequitur Marketing, a marketing consulting business she launched in 2013. Sequitur Marketing focuses on working with professional and consulting services firms to help them budget their resources, including time and energy. It’s logical marketing steps that generate desired results. Vicki is also the part-time Executive Director of Metropolitan Breakfast Club. She is also an active community supporter, enjoys working with nonprofit boards, committees, and volunteer efforts. Vicki is a very resilient, but reluctant, solopreneur, a story that will probably be played out over and over again by Baby Boomers who move into entrepreneurship in the second half of life. Marc and Vicki discuss several topics, including Vicki’s background and experience, how it took years to decide to start on her own, what she has learned as a solopreneur, and how she keeps her job interesting.
[2:16] Vicki received a BS in education. She soon learned that she enjoyed being in school, but not teaching school. She went back for her MBA, and entered the business world. Her corporate career spanned 30 years. She is now a marketing consultant.
[3:35] Vicki and Sequitur Marketing work mostly with professional services firms to help them logically evaluate and improve their marketing strategy, to grow their business.
[4:38] Vicki first thought of going on her own when she learned in her MBA classes that it really is possible to start one’s own business. Over the years, during layoffs, she freelanced, but kept going back to corporate work.
[6:25] Overall, Vicki’s work experience in the corporate world was good. She learned a lot, and got on a really good track for marketing, managing direct reports, budgeting and related business activities. She didn’t feel pushed to turn away from that. She enjoyed belonging to a team.
[7:32] The last layoff was harder on Vicki than earlier ones. The job had had some challenges, and it had not been as satisfying. She started out diligently looking for that new place to land, but the search didn’t feel the same. It didn’t feel productive. At some point, she told herself, this is the time to go on her own.
[8:57] It is important to focus, and find your own marketing space. It can be difficult to do. At the first, Vicki took a variety of clients, but now she focuses on professional and consulting services firms, including engineers, architects, attorneys, and CPAs.
[9:54] Vicki also has taken on a paid, part-time role with the Metropolitan Breakfast Club in Austin, a weekly networking organization. After many years as a member, she was asked by the board to become the Executive Director, when the position opened. She finds personal reward in this new challenge that balances nicely with her consulting.
[12:48] Vicki had to relearn what she helps her clients learn: there are so many things to do in a business, you can’t do them all at once. So prioritize, outsource what you can, and let go of what doesn’t work, move on, and tackle the next task.
[13:38] Marc has seen people get started, but get stuck. Marc’s coach, Sherry Lowry, told him she always tried to change her business 15-20% every year, to keep it fresh. Marc sees that Vicki has found her niche, where she is comfortable, and her clients are comfortable with her.
[15:13] Vicki would have gotten her focus, and her target market earlier, if she had had the knowledge to do so. Vicki is a little risk-averse, and starting out on her own was a bold move for her. She would like to be a little bolder.
[16:11] Marc says one of the key pieces is to learn that when you don’t have it all figured out, you still go and get started. In this series of stories, the common theme is first, getting the nudge to do something, but not doing it; second, getting a kick to get started; and third, finding unexpected challenges, but adapting, and keeping on going.
[19:46] Marc’s points: 1) Vicki was a reluctant entrepreneur, who would have rather found a job. 2) She did not wait to find the full business model before she started. 3) She encountered a lot of obstacles in business and personal life. 4) She added variety to her business to keep it interesting. 5) Listen to Episodes 3, and 7, for others’ stories.
Mentioned in This Episode:
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