I Jumped! I launched my public relations firm Oasis Integrated Communications in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s been an exhilarating, life-changing experience. How did I do it? It was a combination of strategies that came together at the right moment and pushed me to make this dream a reality. Are you on the fence about whether to start that business you’ve been dreaming about? Read on to get some clarity on the steps you need to take to get out of the rut.
In Oprah’s latest book The Path Made Clear, she explains that life whispers to you all the time beckoning you towards your life’s purpose. If you don’t heed the whisper, it gets louder, then it feels like a little pebble – a little thump upside the head, soon it becomes a brick upside the head, then it becomes a crisis that leads to the entire brick wall falling down.
While the decision to launch my business during the past few weeks might seem like a bold one as the world continues to navigate a new normal and economies face a downward spiral globally, it didn’t happen overnight. As COVID-19 all but halted the world, it provided me with more time to focus on developing my business, but the whispers started a while back when I became more aware of my passion for communications. I was getting many nods of approval and heaps of praises and commendations for my writing, I relished the sense of accomplishment and joy I got from doing my PR activations and seeing my clients happy. I also knew that with my work ethic, professionalism, and passion combined, I would be able to create my dream company and dream life.
There were several indications over time that I needed to work on my entrepreneurship journey but I ignored them and moved on. My client list had been quietly growing over the years, and the jobs often demanded more of my attention. On the other hand, there were several circumstances in my 9-5 that became niggling pains – exhausting work weeks, extended commutes, demanding hours with less than reasonable managers, and just an overall feeling of dissatisfaction.
Then, one day it hit me. I came across Steve Harvey’s famous Jump speech and as I sat reflecting on the message, pondering the details of this painstaking life I had been dragging myself through, I was moved to take action.
Live, Not Merely Survive
A few hours earlier, my alarm rang out in a crescendo as the melodic sounds of I’ve Gotta Be Me, by Sammy Davis Jr. echoed through my room. I stirred, groaned, and involuntarily hummed the song in my mind. The temptation to return to sleep was overwhelming and after several rounds of hitting the snooze button, I finally arose.
The irony of my alarm ringtone is that I wasn’t being me. I’m a happy person, I’m super motivated and I’m a go-getter who gives 110% at whatever I do. But for the past few months, life had taken a turn for the worst, with inevitably long work hours on the weekends and late evenings toiling at the office, my sleep hours were dwindling fast, and my social life had taken a hit. Something had to change. Here are the top four steps that paved the way for me:
- Research & Create Your Roadmap
For months, I had been deliberating on what to do and now I was ready. I started a vision board and commenced mapping my journey and pinning down the details of the life I’d like to live. What exactly did I want to do? What did I love most about my skills and expertise? Where would I be if I realised all my dreams? How would I feel?
I created my roadmap, and I got to work, starting with research on tips to launch, a business coach who could guide me, and courses I needed to take to build my knowledge. An Entrepreneurship Connections course from ACCES Employment, a Canadian not-for-profit corporation had workshops and seminars covering writing a business plan, accounting, marketing, and all the key topics I needed to learn about, so I successfully applied and enrolled.
- Seek Advice & Work with Others
Let’s be honest, no one is perfect but we can buffer that imperfection if we plan for it. The mistake most entrepreneurs make is seeking advice from others who don’t understand the journey they are on. As motivational speaker Bob Proctor puts it, “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you’re aiming for, seek advice from them, and do exactly what they tell you.”
That said, I started a business consultation with Dwania Peele, Founder of the Canadian Small Business Women Association who’s had a host of business experience and contacts through her expansive network. She proved to be the perfect mentor to guide me. I needed advice on the daily struggles of running a business, and she was quite vocal. So, too were my contacts in Jamaica. What were the main challenges they were facing? How were they dealing with them? And what were the pros and cons of working in your own business?
- Be Strategic with Branding & PR
Be intentional with everything, your business name, logo, your social media handles, and the partnerships you forge. I chose ‘Oasis’ for the business name as I wanted something that represented my vibrant energy while speaking directly to my target market. I was aiming to help businesses find their paradise and my PR knowledge came in handy here as publicity is my specialty. I spent countless hours refining the look and feel of the brand, the brand voice, planning my initial social media posts and visuals. Added to that, I devised a strategy that would thrust my business into the spotlight once I made my first posts. This paid off immensely, as the commendations came rolling in as soon as I made the official announcement.
- Be Realistic & Enjoy the Process
The time is now. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll probably be waiting your entire life. While it is important to get the research done and to ask the relevant questions, these will never substitute for doing the actual work. You don’t want to look back a few years from now thinking “What if I had started the business?” All the entrepreneurs I spoke to in my initial outreach wished they had made the leap earlier. They reiterated that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step so you have to get started. You have to jump! You’ll inevitably make a few mistakes in the process so be open to learning, and let go of the need to control outcomes.
I have gotten to several points where I’ve felt frantic about meeting my own deadlines and getting ahead of what I needed to do. However, I find that once I relax and enjoy the process, it’s so much easier to be productive and achieve my goals with ease. Most importantly, I’ve had several achievements since my launch, and I’m excited about the months ahead. The possibilities are endless! Need some more tips and advice? Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help!
Kimesha is the CEO of Oasis Integrated Communications. She’s a seasoned PR professional with a passion for crafting meaningful stories that connect to people. An eternal optimist who thrives on perfecting solutions that marry creative brand experience with consumer engagement, she believes in tapping into the core values of a company and tailoring strategies that share their narrative and find affinity. Her experience spans public relations, corporate communications, marketing, social media and advertising across a range of industries. She has executed projects in Toronto, New York, and Jamaica where she has deftly managed some of the foremost brands across North America and the Caribbean.
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