National Small Business Week is coming to a close, but we have one more story from an employee with roots in the small business world. Read on to learn more about why Amanda Pierson is passionate about helping small business owners find success.
Amanda is a senior digital marketing specialist at Townsquare Interactive.
Fun fact: She has moved 38 times thanks to her father building airports when she was a kid.
I grew up around two small businesses.
When my dad went through a patch of unemployment, we sold candles at a Costco-like store. These were candles that, once lit, showed a hidden graphic in the wax. Very cutting-edge for the ‘80s. I was in elementary school but had a knack for sales, so they brought me along. I loved manning the cart, taking inventory and convincing passersby that they needed to spend their hard-earned money on a candle. My parents accidentally left me at the store one time because I was deep in a sales pitch.
The other small business in my family belongs to my brother-in-law and sister. I worked there for many years in my 20s. They own a commercial furnishings company that outfits offices with cubicles, conference room tables and executive suites. They mostly work with universities and military/government in Arizona. My brother-in-law is a sharp businessman who started out selling t-shirts from his garage and now runs a very successful corporate furnishings company serving all of Arizona.
I understand how many roles a small business owner has to juggle. I get the stresses that they manage day in and day out—many stresses their staff never see. I know that if they could figure out a way to delegate some of their responsibilities, they would—but they don’t know how and are scared to let someone else take some control.
I have also seen the flip side. A lot of business owners have isolated talents and are not familiar with other aspects of running a business (like being good at plumbing but not knowing how to keep the books straight).
Luckily, my family member has always been pretty open about either learning the information or accepting help. I have worked for other small business owners, though, who are so stubborn that they’d rather the business crumble around them than ask for help.
The digital marketing specialist role at Townsquare Interactive is not just about taking website edit orders or pushing ad campaigns. We are so much more to these owners.
Sometimes we’re partners, sometimes we’re the IT guy, sometimes we’re therapists, sometimes we’re their whipping boy, sometimes we suggest an idea that launches them to a new level, sometimes we give them one small nugget of advice that changes everything.
Whenever I speak with my clients—even the grumpy ones—I remember the fear that many of them hold inside: the fear of losing it all because of a mistake they might make, the fear of not being able to support their families, the fear of no phone calls or the fear of being taken advantage of by an SEO company. I take my time and try to explain the WHY behind what we do. Even if that only alleviates some of their worry, it helps.
I have been told that I get too emotionally invested. Respectfully, I disagree. If we are not invested in these people’s businesses (and sometimes lives), then we are missing the point of our job—the reason TSI is different than the other companies. If we’re not going to invest, we might as well move to the pooled-support model. What if it was my sister on the line asking for help? I sure would hope one of my colleagues would invest in her—she’s got six kids and a business on her shoulders. Our 20-minute calls are worth so much more than we realize.