How The ADS Agency Got Started
- POSTED ON
This month I celebrated FIVE WHOLE YEARS of entrepreneurship! At the end of this blog post, I’ll share a link over to my YouTube video about the five big lessons I learned so far as a business owner. Until then, I thought you’d appreciate hearing about my story. I have some podcasts and interviews out there that share my story pretty well, which I’ll also work on adding to this blog post, but here’s the somewhat truncated version of my start in entrepreneurship for those who don’t mind reading:
When I first moved here to Atlanta I was coming off a 1-year assignment in Scotland. That role was ending and unfortunately there were no other roles for me to go into, though the company was very nice about it and let me spend company time looking around for my next role. I ended up taking a role in Atlanta which ended up being the woooorst toxic boss job ever. Never had one of those before and it hurt my ego a good bit because I try really hard to be a likable person and have good rapport with everyone I work with. Very hard to know that my own boss was so hard to get along with. Everyday was like walking on eggshells and I dreaded seeing emails from him, getting messages from him, etc. All my efforts to try to talk to him and let me help him by letting me do my job, trying to get a seat at the table with the leadership team (as marketing should be) – all of those efforts totally failed and I had to admit that this was just one person in the world I just was not going to win over. I was so RELIEVED when all of that was finally over.
While I was looking for my next job, the people I’d met in my short 10 months in Atlanta at the time kept encouraging me to do my own thing. That this would be the PERFECT time to start my own business. I wasn’t trying to hear it. To me, entrepreneurship spelled BROKE. At least for awhile. And I had bills to pay – kind of important to keep the lights on! It wasn’t until a good friend in the area whom I had coffee conversations with about his own marketing finally said “PLEASE for the 50th time, please start your own business. And if you will start your own business, I’m going to be your first client and TELL ME WHAT TO PAY YOU.” ….I mean….who turns down money in between jobs? Not this gal.So that’s how it started. I said to myself “You’re in marketing – you can certainly get an LLC together and throw up a website, put a social media presence out there, etc.” – so I did.
On Oct. 20, 2016, ALMOST overnight (call it a long weekend), it was all up and out in the public! But I wasn’t convinced yet that this would be anything “real.” I viewed it like a side, play-play type of project. Because, while I did view myself as becoming an entrepreneur in my 40s, I was still in my mid-30s and to me, I wasn’t “ready yet.” I felt like I still had so much more to know and learn, etc. So I just viewed this as a kind of trial run, almost just for fun. Maybe at the most it would be nice shopping money and something I could do on evenings/weekends, but certainly didn’t view myself going into full-time entrepreneurship.
All during this time, I’d been engaged for one month to another fellow American I’d met when I was overseas. That was horribly ending and the future husband that I thought should be there for me totally turned against me, blamed me for losing my job (like I did it on purpose), said I was trying to take advantage of him, etc. Anyway, that’s another story for another day!! And while he was being horrible overseas to me, my future husband who was right here in Atlanta stepped in the picture and became my biggest cheerleader for this business and such a wonderful emotional support during that time!
That was in Nov. of 2016 when I started doing work for Client No. 1. All of my HR friends said “Hang in there Andrea, budgets are shut down now at the end of the year but they’ll open up again and people will start hiring again about mid-Jan.” So I said to myself: right. I can make it until then. By December, another friend in the area asked what I was doing, and I said “Oh well, ya know, I’m looking for my next role, but I also started this business on the side and I’ve got one client.” He also knew about my marketing background/capabilities and he said: “Well, I needed you YESTERDAY. Here’s my FIVE BUSINESSES. Tell me what you can do with them.”
I was floored. And that, my friends, is what started paying the bills. I wasn’t super comfortable by any stretch of the imagination. But I found this new sense of possibilities – that maybe there was something to this entrepreneurship thing and maybe it could pan out to a reasonable living if I actually put some effort towards it. So by mid-January, as my HR friends had said, the roles did start coming through. Another FANTASTIC role came up which would be global, branding, with an excellent international company which would afford me my own team and travel opportunities, etc. Dream role! My next step in my career and everything I could have wanted. The lady who interviewed me loved me, I loved her, we met 3 times, she seemed like she was pressing go – and then I got a call that said “I’m SO sorry Andrea, I REALLY wanted to work with you, but we had an internal candidate pop up and they take precedence over external candidates. I’m REALLY sorry!”
In that moment, rather than feeling distraught or disappointed or defeated, I actually had SO much PEACE. It was as if (and I’m Christian, so this is me speaking of my own Creator) God was showing me this fork in the road and it was my decision to make: “Alright Andrea. So you’ve proven to yourself now that you can still go this corporate route – if you want. You’ve still got it, people still want you. You can go that way if that is what you desire. However, if you might TRUST me…I have another path for you to consider.”
That path was entrepreneurship. Having that wonderful international role not work out after all was divine intervention as I view it and one of the best things that could have ever happened. Five years later, I haven’t looked back ever since. That’s the (not so short) story of how this all got started.
Are you thinking about starting a business? Or, if you’ve been a follower of ADS, tell us how long you’ve known us / how we first encountered each other in the comments below. Would love to know! Cheers to 5 years!