Mavens & Moguls is a virtual marketing department for organizations that need access to great talent on an as needed basis. We do anything an ad agency, PR firm, market research group or marketing team does and can help you scale quickly. We can be an extension of your team to get through busy periods or help you launch a new product or service with experienced people on demand. We have people in major metro areas globally and can come together and form teams when and where you need help. If you have a marketing challenge we are here to help.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to launch your business?
Paige Arnof-Fenn: I did not plan on starting a company. I always wanted to go work for a large multi-national business and be a Fortune 500 CEO. When I was a student I looked at leaders like Meg Whitman & Ursula Burns as my role models. I started a global marketing and branding firm in Cambridge, MA 16 years ago after starting my career on Wall Street in the 80s and having a successful career in Corporate America at companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola and working at 3 different startups as the head of marketing. I took the leap right after 9/11 when the company I worked for cut their marketing. I had nothing to lose. Being an entrepreneur provides me a platform to do work I truly enjoy with and for people I respect. I get to set my priorities, I have time to travel and hang out with my inner circle, and work out every day. On a great day I get enough sleep and wake up energized, I an firing on all cylinders and find time to exercise, I connect with friends and loved ones over a meal or talk, I work with my clients to solve important problems that help them be more successful. I get to spend some time outdoors even if just a short walk or sitting on my porch with a glass of wine and my husband. Finding work you love includes balance and to me balance is about not wasting time on things that do not matter. When you have balance in your life and live in a state of balance you have everything you need really. It has been a journey to get here but I am lucky to have found it. I love the autonomy, flexibility and the fact that I know every day the impact that I have on my business. When I worked at big companies I always felt the ball would roll with or without me, that if I got hit by a bus someone new would be in my office right away. Now my DNA is in everything we do and I can trace every decision and sale to something I did or a decision I made and that is incredibly gratifying and fulfilling. Like most entrepreneurs, I am working harder and longer than ever and I have never been happier.
Working for yourself and building a business you started in incredibly rewarding and gratifying. Since starting my business I have joined boards and volunteered at several organizations. I am a mentor to the next generation of leaders and have helped build a very successful anti-bullying program that >50,000 middle school aged kids have gone through. As a marketing consultant I am able to write articles, contribute to books and speak at events to share my experience and lessons learned. It has been a lot of fun, I joke that I am the accidental entrepreneur. I knew I had made it as an entrepreneur when Harvard wrote 2 case studies on my business a few years after I started it, we were very early to pioneer sharing resources on the marketing front (before my company it was really only done with HR, legal and accounting/finance).
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you/your Company?
Paige Arnof-Fenn: Every day is exciting there are always new tools and technologies coming on the market, new product, services, and businesses disrupting categories so I am always learning new things and having fun. It is never boring!
BusinessInterviews.com: Where do you envision your company in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Paige Arnof-Fenn: Still having fun!
BusinessInterviews.com: Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Paige Arnof-Fenn: I do feel successful and my definition has changed over the years. I started my business with the goal of working with people I respect and admire for people I want to help succeed. I wanted more autonomy, flexibility and control. The funny thing is, I’m working longer and harder than ever before, but it feels different when it’s your firm that you’re building. I didn’t start this business with a specific revenue target in mind, but I know growth is critical both personally and professionally. I went through a 6 year period recently where I lost 7 close family members and I’ve realized that the metrics that matter to me most are not the typical entrepreneurial concerns, staying true to my core beliefs is very important to me. I have realized that loyalty is one of my core values—loyalty to self and to others whom I respect. It’s important to me to gauge how many colleagues and customers come back and refer us to those who trust them. Being true to the mission of the organization and delivering superior experiences matter to me a lot. Having the confidence to walk away from a client or colleague who’s diluting the equity in your brand is tough, but it’s necessary sometimes. You must always be authentic to the essence of your brand and surround yourself with people who reinforce your brand and its values–not tarnish it.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, relationships matter. Quality encounters matter. Honesty matters. Consistency matters. Authenticity and integrity matter. The experience and the journey matter. Focus on what matters to you and get rid of things that don’t. Taking the clutter out of your mind and your life frees up space for more of what you value.
Success is very personal so your definition will be–and should be–different than mine. To me, growth for growth’s sake is meaningless, but profitable growth with interesting clients solving important problems is what keeps me engaged and excited. The ability to spend time with people I love and care about is critical. My reputation really matters, and the positive word-of-mouth means a lot to me since almost all of our business comes by referral.
A great quote about success comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?
Paige Arnof-Fenn: As far as mistakes go I would caution others that the people you start with are not always the ones who grow with you. The hardest lesson when I started my company was not getting rid of weak people earlier than I did in the first few years of my business. I spent more time managing them than finding new customers. I knew in my gut they were not up to snuff but out of loyalty to them I let them hang around much longer than they should have. It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there. They became more insecure and threatened as we grew which was not productive for the team. As soon as I let them go the culture got stronger and the bar higher. “A” team people like to be surrounded by other stars. It is true that you should hire slowly and fire quickly. I did not make that mistake again later on so learned it well the first time. I wish I had known it even earlier though but lesson learned for sure!
BusinessInterviews.com: Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Paige Arnof-Fenn: Here is my best business advice I can share:
Be original. What makes you unique or special?
Be creative. How do you want people to think & feel after interacting with you vs. your competition?
Be honest. Let your brand be known for speaking the truth, and you become the trusted advocate and go-to source.
Be relevant. Brands aren’t created in a vacuum.
Be consistent. Develop a cohesive message, and live it every day.
Be passionate. Everyone loves to work with people who are passionate about what they do; it makes life much more fun and interesting.
Filling your pipeline is the key and prospective customers can come from anyone anywhere anytime so you should always be on your best behavior & make a great lasting impression. Be nice to everyone & make friends before you need them, you never know who is in or will be in a position to help! It is true you should never burn a bridge, that really is great advice and I can tell you dozens of stories over the years where that has served me well. You just never know when your paths will cross again with old colleagues, former bosses, etc. Kill them with kindness and don’t ever burn that bridge, trust me it pays off! Also, be the best prepared at every meeting, work your butt off and smile. It has worked for me at least!
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