By Chanel Rae Pettaway


 

I was dubbed the “Red Carpet Hero” by a producer at BET.com and my partner, Ian Freeman, and I thought it would be cool to stick with the superhero theme—Legion.

We have a home office and work independently. We offer traditional public relations (PR) strategies, marketing, event planning, social media management, and crisis management.

I believe this line of business chose us. After the stock market crash in 2008, I was laid off from Advertising Age while Ian was still in sales. That summer, Ian and I were asked to put together a fashion show for the centennial celebration of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). After the show, we were asked by numerous clients to help with their PR efforts. Soon after, we started The Legion Media Group in October 2008.

What do you believe makes your business stand out?
Our reputation. We value our clients’ opinions about us. We are also results-driven.

Is it always necessary to be passionate about what your business is about in order for it to succeed?
Yes, no one will ever promote your own business as you would.

How did you obtain capital? Were there investors?
Thankfully, we never had to take out a loan or retain any investments. One client led to another.

How did you build your customer base? What form of marketing has been most effective for you so far?
Word of mouth is key. Other colleagues and/or clients have referred most of our clients to us.

How do you generate new ideas for your business’ growth?
We keep a close eye on industry trends and what the needs are for each client.

What kind of company culture are you implementing? What are your core values?
Our motto is to never sell a client a dream. Set real, obtainable goals.

How do you deal with major mishaps? What would you say is one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
You deal with any mishaps head on. Never make a bad situation worse. One of the biggest mistakes I have made is not to talk through an uncomfortable situation with my team.

What skills do you believe are necessary in handling a business?
You must have patience. Success doesn’t come right away.

What would you say are some dos and don’ts in starting one?
Do invest in yourself and/or your company. If you don’t, no one will.  Don’t rely on your friends and family to promote your business. They don’t work for you. They are also not your demographic.

Was there ever a time you felt afraid that this might not work? How did you manage this fear?
Some months are not as financially rewarding as others. Use those down months to strategize and update sales sheets and marketing tools.

Describe a typical day for you.
I wake up at 5:30 in the morning for a quick workout. I’m at my desk by 8:30 A.M. I spend six to eight hours working—answering emails, doing conference calls, and pitching. In the evenings, if I’m not on mommy duty, you can catch me at an event. I work at least 50 hours a week.

What is your greatest fear?
My biggest fear is letting my parents or my son down.

What sacrifices have you had to make to get here?
I have to sacrifice being away from my son more than I would like to. But if I don’t go out to retain or grow our client base, I cannot provide.

What can you consider is your greatest success?
My greatest success is my son.

What would you say is the secret to success?
For you to be happy, define what success means to you. Choose to be happy every day.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Having the flexibility in my schedule is really rewarding.

What motivates you? Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My mother. She always finds time to get everything done.

Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
I see our company with a bigger staff and bigger budgets.

Do you consider yourself an ambitious person?
Yes. I’m always thinking of ways to grow my business and my mind.

Do you think being ambitious helps you in business?
Yes. Ambitious people don’t just make plans or dreams, they go out and get it done.

What piece of advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t quit just because you don’t get the results you want right away. It takes years to build a successful brand.

 

Edits: Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla  |  Image Credit: Chanel Rae Pettaway

About Chanel

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