Name: Jennifer Friedlin
Business: Iris7 Marketing, LLC, Brooklyn-based marketing firm
Industry: Marketing & PR
Location: New York, New York. U.S.
Reason for starting: My first career was as a journalist. I stopped working in 2006 because I was on bed rest with twins. After they were born, I decided to focus on staying with them during their early years. When I came out from under my rock in 2011 my industry had imploded. I needed to figure out a way to put my skills to work. I started helping friends with their companies’ and non-profits’ marketing materials and then I discovered I had ambitions that went beyond freelancing. At the time, I wasn’t sure what exactly it meant to own and grow a business, but I decided I liked the idea of it.
The first three years gave me time to learn, grow, and refine. I read books, took courses, and got to know the needs of my ideal clients inside and out. Recently, I launched my first program called Small Business, Big Dream: A 7-Step Messaging and Marketing Program for Entrepreneurs. It’s a one-on-one program that helps early stage entrepreneurs define their message, identify their ideal client, create targeted web copy, and design a resource-conscious marketing plan. The aim is to help small business owners hit the ground running so that they can succeed.
In the early days of my business I also decided that I needed to network. Then I realized that most groups met in the morning and at happy hour, when I was busy with my kids. So I started my own networking group. Mompreneur is now in it’s third year and the theme is GROWTH! We meet after school drop-off.
How do you define success? Success is different for everyone and it means different things at different stages of your life. For me right now, success means growing my business to the point where it can sustain my family. I was able to invest in developing my business because my husband was bringing a steady paycheck, but my goal for myself, my Mompreneur friends, and all women business owners is sustainability. I believe that small business is a great answer to the work/life balance conundrum. But these businesses need to thrive. Only then will we as women have economic freedom and the ability to do something really radical — create workplaces that suit moms, dads, and families.
Biggest Success: My biggest success has been learning to power ahead even when I’m scared or feeling a lack of confidence. I have learned to focus on the tasks at hand and to stop comparing myself to others. I definitely have moments where I think, “Is this all I have done during my 45 years on earth?” But then I think, at 45 I know who I am and what I want. Now, I just need to go for it. That’s a beautiful thing.
Related: A Light Look at Serious Stigmas
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Growth. Right now my business is really just me. I have consultants I pull in for various jobs, but I do want to grow my firm into a full-fledged agency. Figuring out the how is tricky.
Who is your most important role model? I’m in awe of Cheryl Strayed. If that woman starts a cult, I’m in. If she tells me to jump, you know my answer. Seriously. Strayed is fierce and wise and powerful. More than anyone I can think of she demonstrates the capacity for human resilience and the infiniteness of radical compassion. Her book Tiny Beautiful Things, which was recommended to me by a fellow Mompreneur, the indomitable fitness trainer Aynsley Kirshenbaum, has taught me the power and importance of keeping your eye on the prize. When I get down on myself, I channel Cheryl and I snap out of it.
Edited by The Story Exchange