A few years ago Six Degrees Society was called City Society and we sent only emails. And by emails I mean I kept everyone's info stored in a spreadsheet and added additional names manually and when I had an event coming up I'd bcc everyone on one email. One day my life was changed when Pinsi Lei reached out me. She had this novel idea to use a tool called "Mailchimp" to revolutionize the way I store emails/communicate out events.
Being the stubborn person I am it came to her setting it all up for me before I was able to accept that yes, this will make my life much much easier as will it make the life of everyone who interfaces with me.
I was drawn to Pinsi's ability to confidently reach out to someone and tell them how to change their thinking just as I was impressed by the business she had crafted for herself. Learn more about what inspired Pinsi to get her business, Pinsi Lei Creative, off the ground as well as useful tips for those contemplating starting a business.
1. Pinsi, it seems like you've been living the startup life straight out of college. How did you get your Creative Services business off the ground?
I started freelancing in online marketing in college. My very first client actually found me in a LinkedIn discussion group because I used to answer all sorts of marketing questions in my spare time. #nerdalert
When I graduated from Williams College, I worked at a couple startups in different roles from sales and marketing to design and PR while freelancing on the side. Observing and learning from EVERYONE at those startups taught me almost everything about running a business. Eventually I felt like I had all the skills I needed to start my own shop, Pinsi Lei Creative, so I did!
2. As a beginning entrepreneur myself, what are 3 branding basics businesses should lock down immediately?
Branding is really part of the larger picture of how and why your run your business. It’s the story you tell the world about why you exist. That being said, you need a strong mission statement, a set of values and a concrete image.
[MISSION] Why do you exist? What makes your company different from all the other similar companies out there?
[VALUES] What do you stand for? What are you not willing to compromise on?
[IMAGE] How do you visually show people your mission and values? Your image doesn’t have to be loud - it just has to be yours.
3. What has been the biggest challenge being your own boss? Do you have any live hacks to keep yourself organized?
My hack is that I write everything down in my calendar including even when to do laundry and workout. If it's not in the calendar, it's not getting done. Delegating is also 🔑 - if I can't get something done to the standard I've set for my myself and my company, I will delegate it to someone who can get it done at 120%. I’m always trying to find the most efficient + effective way to #GSD (get $hit done).
4. What has been your greatest "pinch me" moment?
When an editor from Cosmopolitan Magazine asked if they could use a photograph I took of a client in one of their print issues. I couldn't believe my photography was going to be in print! My next question was, how much? Remember, even when you’re flattered or taken by surprise by a business opportunity, step back and ask yourself, what would a more successful person in my position do?
5. Who are 3 entrepreneurs that you admire and why?
I have to name my husband Richard Lorenzen because he is the most disciplined and hardworking person I know. He will wake up at 4:30AM regardless of what went down the night before to start his morning routine.
Hannah Bronfman, a DJ and fitness guru, has been really interesting to follow on social media. She has stayed true to her own brand and voice as she’s grown her business with brand partnerships and media placements. I guess she’s not your typical startup entrepreneur, but she’s definitely an entrepreneur.
Sara Blakely. Please read her Wiki. From failing her law school entrance exam to selling fax machines door-to-door (fax machines?!?) to writing her own patent for Spanx because she didn’t want to spend the legal fees, this lady is the #girlboss of my dreams.