“How I Started” is a series of interviews with local entrepreneurs by RCED. Businesses don’t “just happen” and we aim to shed light on our local entrepreneur stories and how they got started. This will be a resource for others starting a business and local students competing in the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Submit your story here https://goo.gl/forms/CoxglfngEcw69m6z2 or nominate an entrepreneur by emailing email@example.com.
What is your product/service?
What are important attributes of your product/service?
Our niche is rural community development/marketing, but we also offer a full range of marketing services.
Where are you located and why?
We are located in Courtland. Mostly because my husband farms in the area, but also because Republic County was always the place that we strived to be.
How many employees?
Who/where is your target market?
We target community development work Statewide, but we serve marketing clients Internationally.
Who is your competition?
Other marketing agencies world wide.
What education, experience, or talents are needed in your company?
Marketing, advertising, public relations, community development, understanding of rural, writing, social media, and graphic design.
What are some successes when starting a business?
The company kind of fell back into Community Development in 2010 and since then it has really become our strength. From there, we have continued to grow in rural community development clients. When the company was first started as a marketing company, I don’t think that this particular direction was on the radar. However, in business it’s important to be versatile and agile enough to move when opportunities present themselves.
What are some challenges when starting a business?
This line of business is a little like being a lawyer in that you are paid for your time. So, finding clients is the biggest challenge. The second phase is then finding the right clients and repeat/regular clients to give a steady stream of work so that more staff can be hired.
Did you utilize any resources that helped start your business?
Luckily, this line of business takes very little equipment and overhead to start. This enabled the company to start small and build business without as much pressure.
Did you use a business plan when starting?
Do you have any business role models?
Working at Brush Art Corporation, an advertising agency in Downs KS, before I started my own business was really inspiring. They do amazing work and have international clients, right out of small town KS. It showed me that you can do this type of work from a rural area and being from a rural area can actually be an advantage over an urban area because of the lower overhead costs.
Any advice for others?
Really think through what you want to do and have a plan to get enough business to keep you going. Where is that business going to come from? Also, be as diverse as you can in your skills and offerings. The more diverse your business offerings, the more your business can weather storms. Be prepared to change strategy if needed. Hire people that you trust and then don’t micro manage them. I often find that if I were to meddle in projects, I would slow down the work and hinder it.
Owner-Founder: Jenny Russell
After graduating with a degree in Business-Communications and Marketing from Bethany College, Russell has now worked in traditional Marketing, Advertising, and websites for almost fifteen years. This time included almost five years with Brush Art Corporation, a marketing and advertising agency out of Downs Kansas and now seven years in Economic Development. An emphasis in working with and structuring websites led Russell to Internet Marketing and the establishment of JenRus Freelance in 2008. This traditional background lends well to great customer service skills and knowledge of advertising, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing, and other Marketing needs.