Valerie Morris spent years working at a traditional ad agency. But as the social media manager she began to notice a gap in the market for more flexible marketing solutions that can quickly adapt to the changing social media landscape. The result is her Marketing & PR firm, Tintero Creative. Today the Franktown, Colorado-based entrepreneur is helping her clients establish authority as leaders in their industry through the use of original content. And while Morris did not originally build her business purely for financial gain, as her business continues to grow beyond what she initially expected, she is also learning that she is capable of exceeding her own expectations.
Morris’ story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
Tintero Creative helps brands establish authority and be known as a leader in their industry through the use of original content (blogs, video, podcasts, graphics, etc.) and social media.
Prior to starting Tintero Creative, I worked at an ad agency that fit the traditional mode of marketing. As a social media manager there, I worked a new channel for marketing and I realized that this agency (and many others) had too much red tape and processes to keep up with a fast-paced social media strategy. As a result, I began doing more and more freelance work for smaller clients and realized that I could actually form my own agency. The goal was, and still is, to provide agile marketing solutions that can evolve and grow as new trends emerge in social media and digital consumer behavior. I wanted to be able to provide a personalized, and focused approach to every client.
Success is found in leaning into and pursuing hard goals; it’s not just about the destination, but the journey as well. Whether you achieve your goal, or you grow in the process of that process, you have been successful. Some of that judgment comes only from within when you’re truly honest with yourself. Sometimes the proof of success comes in tangle ways you can check the box on meeting the goal.
I was raised in a culture where traditionally the man in a household made more money than the woman. So, while I’ve always been a driven person, I never had lofty goals to make a certain level of income and I frankly never gave it a thought that I would make the same if not more than my husband did. However, a few years into my business, my husband quit his job and went back to graduate school. Money was tight, but during that time I got even more serious about going after quality clients and charging what I was worth. Not only was I able to support our household during this time, but since then, I’ve continued to make the same, and many years more, than my husband earned. I say this not to compare what he makes to what I make, but to share that my mindset shifted. I realized that women DO have the ability to succeed financially. I learned to shelve those traditional gender roles I had been surrounded by growing up and instead focus on simply doing what I love and doing my best.
Perhaps my biggest challenge has been delegating out in order to grow. I’m one of those people who is notorious for holding onto a project or task longer than I should. When I do this, other areas of my life suffer tremendously. It’s been a slow process for me to build Tintero Creative into an agency with a team. I’ve had to be intentional with my time in order to organize and delegate tasks, as well as be available to answer questions and provide clarification. It can be so easy for me to simply take care of something because it’s faster than taking the time to show someone else how we want it done. However, once I heard someone explain it as “investing time” in your future, it clicked in my brain. I need to be intentional and set up these systems in order to provide quality work to clients and grow the team at the same time.
I don’t think I realized it until recently, but my great-grandmother Mary has always been an important role model. She was never a business owner, but I remember her kindness and her work ethic. She and my great-grandfather lived on an acre or two and their entire backyard was a huge edible garden. They also built that house right before the Great Depression and money was so tight to finish the house, that they lived with half-finished plumbing for years. She made gifts from scratch, cooked for her family, and was always ready to greet you with a smile. When I think about the hard work that goes into building a business and building a life, I think about the hard work and resourcefulness that she exhibited day in and day out.