What is the Customer Spotlight? This is the first in our brand new Customer Spotlight series. Over the years I’ve had the honor of designing feminine WordPress themes for you, and have witnessed so much talent in the process. You guys truly amaze me, and I’m excited to showcase your stories. No matter what place you’re at in your journey, you have a story, and we can all learn something from one another.
Meet Melissa of The CEOffice
Please tell us a little bit about you and your business. How did you get started, what do you do, why do you do it?
I am a creative entrepreneur and leader by birth. As the oldest of 6 and the daughter of two entrepreneurs, I was destined to be a small business owner. I started selling homemade cookies to our neighbors during the summer in elementary school. It continued with creating a summer camp for my brothers and sisters in middle school. My senior year of high school I held almost every leadership position possible. Fast forward to corporate life where I held my first management position at 21.
Over the past decade I had the opportunity to lead, encourage, and empower team members at multiple Fortune 500 companies. I have high expectations for my team and believe each person is capable of great things. I enjoy pushing, motivating, and cheering them on to success in both their professional and personal lives. Many team members have promoted into better positions or grown their small business. I had several great mentors in my journey that I credit my success to and I want to continue the circle of success and help others. All it takes is just one person to believe in you.
theCEOffice is a boutique coaching and consulting firm for women entrepreneurs and small business owners. Based in Chicago and serving entrepreneurs nationwide, my mission is to empower creative entrepreneurs through one-on-one coaching and collaborative events with like-minded women who are committed to making an impact and creating a legacy.
What does your daily routine look like?
My typical morning routine includes posting a motivational quote on social media and then walking to a local coffee shop for a large Americano. This allows me to get out of the house, see the neighborhood, and get fresh air. When I get back I start with current projects whether preparing for a client consultation or working on business development for the Creative Chics, Coffee & Collaborations community. I end the day by completing emails that need more time and attention and setting up a delayed send option. I also write out the tasks that I need to complete for the next day in my Day Designer. Then when I wake up I already feel accomplished because emails are sent and I know what I need to focus on for the day.
When you hit a mental roadblock, how do you push past it?
When I hit a mental roadblock I take a break. I remove myself from the situation to gain clarity and try to see it from a different perspective. I might call a friend, leave the house, or read for inspiration.
What is the toughest decision you have had to make since beginning your business?
Right now there is nothing that has been the “toughest”. The tough decisions are all learning blocks to build the business. The toughest decision I made within the past year was quitting my corporate job and moving to Chicago to start my business. I knew it was now or never. I told one of my best friends that I decided to “jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down”. It has been exhilarating and I am so glad I took the leap of faith.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. It had a big impact on me and changed my perception on relationships for the better. I would recommend this book to everyone.
(PS. My next favorite is People over Profit. It is a great book for business leaders on learning to value your vendors, clients, and employees.)
Music is a huge part of my life, and is often on while I’m working. Who is your favorite artist, and why?
Anthony Hamilton. He is soulful and I can either zone out with it playing as background music or sing along.
Who in your field inspires you to be better?
Lara Casey. She is fearless, authentic, vulnerable, and brave. She is not afraid to dream and love big. I admire how she has grown her business and takes care of her team.
What goal do you need to reach in order to feel like you’ve “made it”?
To create a legacy that withstands time. In simpler terms, that a team member will continue the business after I retire and continue to help other women business owners create future leaders.
What would you do with your business if you had unlimited resources at your disposal?
1. Create a non-profit arm that provides brand new books to underprivileged children and career coaching to young women in underserved neighborhoods.
2. Buy services and products from all my talented friends and gift out what I don’t use for myself. I love being surrounded by such ambition and talent!!
What do you like most about having an online presence?
I love being able to meet women across the country and develop real relationships that I otherwise would not be able to. It is a big world, but social media makes it a little bit smaller.
How do you bring authenticity to your field?
I use my story and experiences to help others and tell my truth. A lot of times people are afraid to say the hard things. I have learned it is easier to have those conversations early on than let it build and then be reactive.
Swank Feminine WordPress Theme, because it is clean and professional. I love the brief bio in the footer. It is an easy way to say hello and for website visitors to associate a face with the brand. It is a small customer service touch point.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Professionally, I will have a small team of 10 full-time employees in a boutique office space while overseeing communities of women around that world that empower and encourage each other through intimate events.
What’s up next for you?
Go Blog Social
Join me at Go Blog Social – Chicago, a blogger and social media based conference, on October 31st. I will be sharing networking tips and how to build authentic professional relationships
Join the Creative Chics national community and come sit with us! We are female creative entrepreneurs committed to growing our business through collaborations. We share our goals, challenges, resources, contacts, and experiences in an effort to empower the next woman build her business successfully. “A flower doesn’t think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
Thank You, Melissa!
It was so fun getting to know Melissa through this interview. She took her passion and turned it into her job description. So many nuggets of wisdom to be found within her answers, but something I especially want to point out is how she recognizes the importance of narrowing down your niche. Her 10 year goal is very specific which is an integral aspect when it comes to achieving your goals, as well as being successful in business. The more specific your audience, the more likely you are to reach them effectively. What an inspiration! Melissa, thank you for sharing!