Business Owner Spotlight | @MelissaPotterForde
Melissa Potter Forde worked as a full-time Director of Communications and Marketing at the Boys and Girls Harbor while she was developing her own personal company, "Think Big! Think You!". For many, balancing both would be a challenging fleet, but Melissa managed to balance her passions as a connector, communications strategist, career and life coach with her love of community outreach and philanthropy. We caught up with Melissa and learned what advice she would give to women looking to achieve their dreams as well.
Brianna Forde : What is your 9-to-5 job?
Melissa Forde: I am a celebrity publicist. The person behind the scenes making sure your favorite singer, actor, rapper, athlete or organization is seen in magazines, newspapers, blogs, or television!
What business do you own? What is the purpose of the business?
My company Think Big...Think YOU! We Create International, National and Local Public Relations Campaigns Incorporating Traditional Media, Online and Social Media, Blogger Outreach, Direct Consumer Marketing and Events. We Work With Clients That Believe Their Brand Is More Than What You See at Face Value. We Believe In Personal And Projects That Make A Global Impact.
What ignited the spark in your business venture? What inspired you? How did you get the idea?
I was working a traditional 9-5 in communications and many of my friends in the entertainment business reached out to ask me if I could help them on certain projects. Simultaneously between travels to LA and Miami, I connected with superstar talent that believed in me as much as I did in them. I decided to take the leap and was inspired by my obsession with watching Shark Tank and the entrepreneurs that each day refine their passion, pursue their dreams and aren't afraid of receiving "no" as an answer.
Describe your typical day.
I wake up at around 7:30am as my husband gets ready to head to work. I grab my phone for a quick rundown of e-mails, google alerts for my clients and TMZ and The Shade Room to see what I may have missed overnight. I take a shower to get energized for the day and then head to the kitchen to prepare a smoothie or scrambled eggs and sauteed spinach. I check in with my squad to share links, funny stories or daily motivation.
By 9am I'm on the phone with clients and managers and receiving updates about where we want the day to go. By 10am I'm in touch with my team to determine who is taking ownership of writing press releases, updating our contacts, pitching the media by phone and e-mail or attending client events.
My work day never really ends. I'm constantly on set, traveling, e-mailing and fielding inquiries on services.
What influential people have you worked with?
So many! Over the course of my career: 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, The Roots, Grandmaster Flash, Elle Varner, A Tribe Called Quest... the list goes on!
What advice would you give to someone just starting in the real world as a Twenty Somethin and Black woman?
Be humble enough to know when you aren't the smartest in the room. Be smart enough to know when you are THE smartest in the room.
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur?
Money will come and go during the course of your entrepreneurial journey. Set a budget and stick to it because the next month can look drastically different.
What are the most important action steps in creating a successful business?
Ask a lot of questions and read as much as possible. Commit yourself to staying away from television for 30 days and use your free time to research stakeholders on LinkedIn, watch TED Talks, and sit in Barnes and Noble and read anything business related. Save money and get subscriptions to Inc, Fortune, and Entrepreneur.
How should someone go about finding the career that they love?
Intern, yes, even post-college. Find someone you admire and ask how you can be of service to them. You'll be learning the skills you need to determine if you have truly found your passion while building necessary connections that will only benefit you along the way.
Don't ask someone who is busy and hustling if you can take them to coffee or "meet up". We don't have time for it. Instead, ask if there's any research you might be able to do, or send suggested new clients and YouTube links they might want to take a look at. Add value before making an ask for mentorship or guidance.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Too many to list. I've learned along the way and that is why it is important for me to share my journey so others avoid them. The biggest was not using large sums of money that have crossed my path to invest in myself. Whether that was in buying property or paying off bills/student loans.
To what do you most attribute your success to?
I'm naturally driven and always have been, however my mom has worked too hard for me to ever slack. I'm determined to be successful because she has invested so much in laying the groundwork for me. I attribute my success to her constant nagging, guidance, and love.
Melissa's bio and more information about Think Big Think YOU! can be found on http://thinkbigthinkyou.com. Learn more about how this Publicist Mogul brands personalities and projects that have a global impact.