I don’t know how Friday has slipped up on me so quickly. Have you had an exceptional week?! I sure hope so! I’m excited to bring you a fresh, new entrepreneur interview with my friend Karla Peppas, owner of Fresh Collaboration.
Karla and I met through a fabulous Nashville networking group we’re apart of called “Success In The City Little Black Dress Club”. It was formed based on the exclusive, referral-based concept of BNI (Business Networking International) – only with a twist. The group is for ladies only, plus we focus more on relationship-building versus generating referrals. Our belief is that if we’re genuinely getting to know each other, the referrals come naturally. (You may recall my interview with Nashville attorney Kim Hollingshead. She is also a member of this group.) Like so many of my other interviewees, not only do I adore Karla, but I believe we could also talk Facebook, Twitter, etc. for hours. Karla knows her stuff when it comes to SEO, website creation, social media and more. I know you’re going to learn a lot from her today, so let’s dive into today’s interview!
Starting with the basics, Karla launched Fresh Collaboration in May of 2013. (Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary!! Exciting!) While she is located in Nashville, TN, she works with companies all over the U.S. She helps businesses grow through search engine marketing (pay-per-click), search engine optimization (SEO), social media, display ads, email marketing, web development and more. Her target client is small and medium size business owners and marketers. She also partners with a larger number of medical and dental experts.
Welcome to the blog, Karla! Tell us, what led you to your career as an online marketing consultant?
I’ve always loved marketing and considered it the psychology of business. When I first started my career, I worked as part of a marketing team in Boston, MA. Once I moved to Nashville, I expanded into marketing sales. I was then presented with the opportunity to work in digital media as an online marketing consultant and to help launch a multimarket digital agency. This was a perfect fit for me! I was promoted to Director of Digital Sales where I oversaw and managed a team of digital consultants, collaborated on client marketing strategies and worked closely with our internal team on campaign execution.
How did you discover this passion? Why do you enjoy it?
Through these different experiences, I found my true passion for marketing in new media. I enjoy the fast pace, changing environment that technology offers. Mostly though, I love seeing clients get results, grow their business and achieve their goals. Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways for this to happen.
What is a personal or business goal that most would be surprised to hear?
Goals are key to success. As my business grows, I plan to develop additional specialty entities providing deeper industry support for our key niches. The first one that’s currently in development is Tennessee Medical Marketing & News. On a personal note, I also would like to learn to salsa dance like a pro, go on an African safari, and experience whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon.
What do you think holds people back from starting any business?
Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of regret. These fears can keep people from moving forward with an entrepreneurial dream. What helped me is I was reminded of the verse, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7”. I would repeat this every time a fear or doubt would sneak into my thoughts.
How did you land on “Fresh Collaboration”?
I purchased the domain FreshCollaboration .com years before the business launched. Sometimes it takes time for a dream to come to fruition. I chose Fresh Collaboration as the name of my online marketing agency because of the words’ meaning. Fresh: new or different; Collaboration: work jointly in an intellectual endeavor.
What important lessons have you learned since starting your business?
It’s important to have a plan. It’s also important that you’re flexible with your plan. Having a business strategy and specific goals is key in order to judge success. However, sometimes things don’t work as planned and you need to adjust the plan…or dump it all together. Know your goals. Take action. Adjust and optimize. This is best advice I’ve learned.
Tell us about a struggle you’ve experienced with your business and how you overcame it.
I’ve always been independent and like knowing I can handle anything. This can be a strength, but it can also be a challenge realizing you can’t do all and know all. The best way I found to overcome this is to surround myself with other experts and create relationships and friendships with them. Learning from others, sharing the load and delegating task has been crucial for me.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Work-life balance is very important to me. It was one of the fueling reasons I wanted to have my own business. My job allows me to have flexibility in my schedule and even in my location being that several of my clients are based in other states. I must be intentional with my time. When it’s time to work, I work hard. When it’s time to play, then I play hard. As long as everything that needs to get accomplished does, then I don’t mind when those task take place.
If someone is thinking about starting a business, what is the first thing you would tell him or her?
Be focused. Stay focused. I think with entrepreneurs, it’s never a lack of good ideas to implement. In fact the opposite. You can have so many good ideas, that it can be overwhelming and distracting to your goals. If you have a product or service that you believe in and you stay focused, then success is only a matter of time and effort!
Are you involved with any community outreach / non-profit organizations? If so, tell us about it/them and why you got involved.
My mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis several years back. As a result, the National MS Society and the research they do is very important to me. I’ve participated in fundraising and other events over the years in support of this organization. My hope is there will one day be a cure for MS.
How do you unwind in your free time? Any hobbies?
Going for walks or runs outside, watching movies (especially superhero movies!) and sharing a great meal out with family and friends are all activities that make say, “yeah…life is good!” My husband and I also love to travel and explore new places, so we make this an essential part of our lives.
What is your favorite part about what you do? And your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
Helping clients achieve their goals and forming relationships with clients is the best part of what I do. I love being an entrepreneur because of the flexibility, creativity and endless opportunities in brings. It gives you the chance to truly shape your own destiny.
Tell us about your books. Where can we buy them?
I have two books about marketing that are both available on Amazon. The first, Understanding Internet Marketing: Telling the Story of Your Business is a great overview and introduction to the different elements of online marketing – it’s written in a fun, easy to understand format. The second book, Medical Marketing: The Health of Your Practice in a Digital Era features top local doctors, their story of success online and our own tips for digital achievement. All profits from this book are donated to the Mid South National MS Society.
What’s your favorite quote about success?
“If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
Karla’s passion for what she does is practically tangible. I thrive on being around vibrant, community-focused women like Karla and hope you’re surrounded with individuals who are just as passionate.
What “golden nugget” did you pull from today’s interview? I’d love to know what resonated most with you. Please share and let’s dialogue in the comments!