Rhonda Sharp has over twenty-fives years of sales and marketing experience under her belt. But when the pandemic hit last spring, she was one of millions who sadly lost their job in the ensuing economic downturn. Sharp spent some time thinking about what her next move should be. Should she look for a new gig? Retire? Ultimately she decided she wasn’t done working, and thus Moon Rae Media was born. The Oakville, Canada-based entrepreneur teamed up her son’s girlfriend (who also holds a degree in Communications) and started to slowly build up their client roster. Today Sharp is focused on growing the business while also continuing to give her clients the focus and attention they need.
Sharp’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
This whole thing started after I lost my employment due to COVID-19. Being in Sales and Marketing for over twenty-five years, I had to take pause. Now what? Do I retire? Do I have more in the tank to give? Is it time to slow down or start again?
At the same time, my future daughter-in-law, Maggie, was pondering her future. In her final year of university, she felt overwhelmed and under-motivated about what the future will bring. How will she get employment during this time? How does she even start? With my background in marketing and sales and Maggie’s degree in Communications, my mind started percolating. I love design, photography and people, and Maggie is a skilled, talented media communications expert. Does she want to work with her future Mother – in Law? Am I putting my son’s growing relationship at risk? Is it too soon or just not appropriate due to our age gap of over 30 years? I have to say we didn’t see the roadblocks or the potholes, just the road, and we got excited to jump in and start this incredible journey together.
I spent months upping my game on the ins and outs of social media marketing and brand design. I looked at it this way; I get to use my love of photography and put it out there in a giant colouring book called Social Media. Maggie spent months finishing her degree and doubling down to help as much as she could. And then we met in the middle to share our knowledge, collaborate on best practices and utilize our strengths to build this business into a success!
The brand name Moon Rae Media has been well received. One question we get asked is, “How did you come up with it?” The name Moon Rae Media derives from Maggie’s “real” name. When she was born, her Mom was committed and excited to name her second daughter Maggie Moon Rae Curran. Inadvertently or purposely, the debate is still alive; her Dad (Infamous Juno Award-winning Canadian Rock Legend, Andy Curran from Coney Hatch) left off the “Moon” when he registered his beautiful new daughter’s birth certificate. We figure the “Moon” is back, and we are shooting for the stars!
Our definition of success is knowing we are trying our best. Looking to elevate the brand of others is at times daunting. Our clients mean the world to us and knowing we hold their brand in our hands is something we take very seriously. Self-talk and criticism need to stay in check and knowing I am trying my best has to be the first level I measure in the success bucket. Bringing pretty photographs to the world is also a measure of success for me. Money isn’t the motivator, it just pays the bills!
We landed a big account call Rivercroft & Co. This company is a family-run interior design and retail store business but beautifully run out of a barn in Milton, Ontario. Landing an interior design account is something I only dreamt about. I was one happy camper when they said yes!
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Saying no is our biggest challenge! When you are scaling up how do you say no? You want to grow your business but you also only have so many hours in the day. How do you say no to clients who only want to grow their business too? Setting clear parameters and providing written expectations as well as stating where there is a little wiggle room is working so far. Fingers crossed.
My son is my greatest role model. He has my back, he supports me and keeps an eye on me and my work! Spelling mistakes included!