Holly Hoffman’s company, which specializes in digital marketing and social media marketing, started with a blog, a few pro bono clients and one simple idea. Hoffman soon after, transitioned from Corporate America to entrepreneurship with 10 years of media experience to fuel Neovia Solutions in 2009.
Learn how Holly got started and why it’s important to remain fluid. “I truly believe that a good business comes from agility and creativity,” Hoffman said. “My experience has been that even better ideas are just around the corner.
Founder, Age: Holly Hoffman, 29
Company: Neovia Solutions
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Industry: Advertising & Marketing
Startup Year: 2009
Startup Costs: Not Disclosed
How I Got Started:
I started reading a handful of Gen Y blogs back in 2007. After a while, I realized that the bloggers were a couple years younger than me. I thought, “Hey, I could do that.” So I started my blog, WorkLoveLife. I obtained a few readers, then a few more, and soon after I started actively marketing it. From there, I fell down the social media marketing rabbit hole.
Instead of deeming myself an “expert” since I’d designed my personal brand so effectively, I volunteered to do social marketing pro bono for local organizations and events. Then, I worked in trade with my life coach and my hairstylist. Then I worked for really, really cheap.
Eventually, in 2009, a friend and I decided to incorporate. We started Neovia Solutions and set out to help organizations reach their business goals with innovative digital solutions. I went full-time with the business a few months later. We built a roster of clients beforehand, then added even more to it before we incurred any major overhead, like offices.
Best Success Story:
We were responsible for implementing a Foursquare strategy for a large convenience store chain in our region. We worked directly with Foursquare to create 500+ venues and successfully implemented a special to all the stores. We also implemented an A/B split offer to the stores – no small task, considering that this was a manual entry process at the time. It is the largest Foursquare implementation to come from our market to date.
Biggest Startup Challenge:
Our biggest challenge has been to grow our business with zero debt. Our business was started with relatively little money, and we have worked hard to fund the business with cash. This has required a lot of patience, but it’s also been very beneficial. It’s tempting to borrow and grow faster.
When things we thought were going to be major sources of revenue bombed, we didn’t lose any money. Growing slowly has allowed us to make mistakes without many negative repercussions. We’ve also been able to find what works this way.
#1 Tip for New Entrepreneurs:
Be fluid. You really have to be able to change your entire business plan at the drop of a hat. I started with a business partner and we were going to do mainly products and conferences. It didn’t work. I do mostly services, and my business partner has since exited the company.
I truly believe that a good business comes from agility and creativity. You can’t be attached to a specific idea for your business. My experience has been that even better ideas are just around the corner.
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