For any entrepreneur, there are natural pivot points in your business trajectory and career, and I’m hitting another big one as I pen this inaugural blog. To tell people where you’re going, however, you need to tell them where you began. So, here it goes.
My first pivot was deciding to launch my own business.
It all started in a home office. Just me, a computer, some funky green linen business cards and a cell phone. While the infrastructure was limited, I had an entrepreneurial spirit, competitive drive and passion for my craft. The words “no” or “I can’t” weren’t in my vocabulary.
I loved politics and communications and had a great statewide network, leveraging years of experience working in government, campaigns, a public relations agency and in-house corporate communications. So, off I went in my spirited, albeit, naive self.
I hustled hard and picked up a few small projects, which led to my first hire.
She was a young woman who worked in a hall coat closet that I converted into an “office” with a tiny desk. True story.
Clients and projects quickly multiplied and we outgrew our home office/closet. I had to decide whether to stay a two-person shop or set up an actual office.
It sounds like an easy decision but it was actually complicated and fraught with anxiety. This was a big decision for a woman in the rough and tumble world of politics, trying to balance work and a young family. I exhausted our savings account to make the leap and scraped together what I needed to set up my office, bring on more staff and service our growing client base. It was scary and exhilarating.
It seems so obvious now, 15 years later, that I made the right decision. I am so proud of what my team and I have built, the work we do on behalf of our clients and the reputation we have earned throughout the state.
So what do you do after you finish climbing the mountain? You find a taller one.
The entrepreneurial spirit that drove me to start an agency just wouldn’t stay dormant.
I spent the last year soul searching on where to take FHA next. Lots of sleepless nights and many bottles of wine later the decision was made. It was time to expand further.
FHA is getting bigger and better. I learned in order to grow, however, we have to evolve. How the public, decision-makers, news media and stakeholders consume information and access content has dramatically changed. We must keep pace in order for our clients to succeed. The environment in which they operate has flipped on its axis.
It was the hardest shift for me personally and professionally, but I had a great kitchen cabinet of advisors and friends. Akin to so many entrepreneurs and small business owners, I had to shift from being the doer to the leader. My job now is to carefully consider the rapidly-changing media landscape, make bold investments, retain and recruit the best talent, re-assess our services and offerings, create and demand a world-class culture of excellence, and ultimately determine how to provide a unique value proposition to our clients.
In 2016, we made significant front-end investments to support the vision…luring senior level talent from global PR agencies who come with great insights and experience, building out an exciting new office space for our team that we’ll unveil in April, growing our creative/design services and expanding into digital offerings.
We’ll continue our core mission…developing effective messaging for our clients facing challenging situations. Now we’ll be sharing that message through dynamic content that will be distributed across more channels. You’ll see integrated communications, including owned channels, social, earned and paid media all under the FHA roof.
It’s hard work. I won’t sugarcoat that fact. But I feel more energized and excited than ever. We’ll be doing some really cool stuff in the communications field, winning for and alongside our clients, and we’ll be eager to share our stories in the coming weeks and months.
We welcome you along the journey.
– Fiona Hutton