Thank you Clemson World for your super fun Friday Profile shout out today! We absolutely love it. It included some fun Q&A with ADS founder Andrea D. Smith. (If you didn’t know, Clemson is Andrea’s alma mater. Now ya know!). Check it out – plus the bonus :15 video shared with Clemson World fans on Instagram (also below). Cheers and have a great weekend!
Name: Andrea D. Smith
Graduation Year(s): 2003; MBA 2005
Major: BS Microbiology, Music Minor; Marketing
Current Role: Owner of the ADS Agency
ADS got started by what I call “accidental entrepreneurship” – nothing I necessarily planned (although my MBA classes had entrepreneurial components). I was looking for my next job, which I was very confident I would find, when several people I’d met in Atlanta who were aware of what I do kept telling me that this might be the time to start my own thing. Finally, someone said, “I’m going to be your first client. Tell me what to pay you.” Ever since then, ADS has been snowballing and is still movin’ and shakin’ nearly two years later.
–What’s the scariest part about starting your own business? The most rewarding part?
The scariest part: all the unknowns. The self-doubt. Do you have what it takes? Can you survive with this? Can this really work? What about health insurance and all those things you get with a “normal job.” The unknowns are daunting and that first year is a rollercoaster of a learning curve. The most rewarding part: FREEDOM. It is absolutely worth every penny-saving meal, the unknowns, the fear and all of that. Freedom is worth it.
–What’s a major obstacle you’ve had to overcome on the journey it took to get where you are now?
Just one? 😉 I have a list of 24 lessons I learned in Year One of Business and many of them include obstacles I had to overcome. Probably the biggest one I can think of – which seems so easy but it’s actually hard considering the background I come from – is not being afraid (or too proud) to accept help. Accepting help, depending on the kind of help it is, was and still is very hard for me. However, angels will come your way. Don’t say no. Be grateful and remember them.
–What’s your advice for young professionals in marketing?
My best advice: master the fundamentals. Don’t forget to be human in your marketing. If you can master the fundamentals and keep the human touch at the core of everything you do, you can always pivot and learn new skills, new technology, etc. But the basics have to be there.
–Favorite place on Clemson’s campus and why:
Tillman Hall. There are many beautiful places, and, of course, there’s fabulous Death Valley, the “downtown” area and all of that to choose from. But I like Tillman. It’s so Clemson, and so much of my undergrad days were spent there. I did the Kappa pageant in that building. Many of my friends had their probate shows in that building. Then of course, Johnstone was right behind it (ha! – stories for days there). Tillman. It’s classic, iconic Clemson.
–Favorite treat during a long day at work:
During a long day or after a long day? A nice caipirinha is always lovely. 😉
Learn more about the ADS Agency: https://theadsagency.co/
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