By: NetWork Kansas
Joanne Smith completed the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program in Montgomery County during the Fall of 2016. Below she talks about the impact that this program has had on her and how it has helped her work toward launching her business, FAB Creative Services.
Q: Describe your business and how it began since participating in the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program.
A: "FAB Creative Services is a multi-faceted marketing company providing a wide range of marketing services to smaller businesses and non-profit organizations in need of support. Services range from assisting with marketing strategy to graphic design, event planning, grant writing and administration, social media and online marketing, traditional media relations, writing and storytelling and fabrication of promotional and gift items (signage, laser-engraved products, etc.). It’s an extremely “miscellaneous” venture, and that’s one of the aspects I love most about the work.
I participated in the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program in the Fall of 2016 at Fab Lab ICC. This was a few months after losing my 21-year job as the marketing and fund-raising director for local hospital when the hospital closed its doors. At that time, I had decided, with a fair amount of reservation, to pursue freelance work offering marketing-related services, and I had secured one established client and had begun to receive a few one-off requests for help with special projects. I also was building a relationship with the staff at Fab Lab ICC and began providing marketing services to the organization."
Q: What were your key takeaways from participating?
A: "Having worked all my adult life in a corporate setting and before becoming acquainted with the entrepreneur coaches at Fab Lab ICC and the entrepreneurial mindset class, I’m not sure I had a true understanding of the concept of “entrepreneurship” as a means of problem-solving. I certainly had never previously thought of myself as an entrepreneur and was not convinced that I had the courage or wherewithal to create and sustain my own business. The class and the coaching helped me understand that I did, indeed, have what it takes to be successful on my own. I learned to trust in my own capability and recognize – believe – that I had something of value to offer."
Q: What are your plans to grow your business in the future?
A: "About a year after my association with Fab Lab ICC and participating in the Ice House class, I more formally structured my company, with an official name, website, social media presence and community engagement. To date, my company has provided services to more than 50 clients, and the list continues to grow. Immediate growth plans for 2019 include launching a podcast to feature other women entrepreneurs and branching into entertainment event hosting. I also hope to expand staffing within the next 12 months."
Q: How do you think the entrepreneurial mindset will help you to move forward?
A: "Having an entrepreneurial mindset helps me look past barriers. My company is at a point of convergence where it’s time to make significant decisions about growth. That’s a little scary. But I have confidence in moving forward because I will approach the growth in true entrepreneurial fashion – through empathetic understanding of my customers; by acknowledging that some trial and error will be necessary; by seeking specific education on the particular skills I need to develop for the areas I want to grow; and by biting off small chunks as I go."
Check out the FAB Creative Services website here.