Paige Arnof-Fenn graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School and spent 15 years in Corporate America working at 3 different startups as the head of marketing. She took the leap right after 9/11 when the company she worked for cut their marketing. She had nothing to lose. Paige founded her own global marketing firm Mavens & Moguls based in Cambridge, MA. She is now also a well known speaker and contributor to major magazines.
Being an entrepreneur provides her a platform to do work she truly enjoys for people she respects. “I get to set my priorities, I have time to travel and hang out with my inner circle, and work out every day. It has been a journey to get here but I am lucky to have found it. I love the autonomy, flexibility and the fact that I know every day the impact that I have on my business. When I worked at big companies I always felt the ball would roll with or without me, that if I got hit by a bus someone new would be in my office right away. Now my DNA is in everything we do and I can trace every decision and sale to something I did or a decision I made and that is incredibly gratifying and fulfilling. Like most entrepreneurs, I am working harder and longer than ever and I have never been happier”.
Paige no longer tries to squeeze in more meetings or hit multiple events at night. As an entrepreneur, she can be selective. It is all about controlling your calendar. Less really is more. She has chosen quality over quantity. “I created a platform to do work I enjoy and feel energized by. I feel I have found my purpose because I used to work all the time and life was passing me by. I got raises and promotions but I was all work and no play and I did not feel fulfilled. Working for yourself and building a business you started is incredibly rewarding and gratifying. I do not think I could ever go back. I am so much happier and more productive as an entrepreneur than I ever was working for others.”
Paige has had her share of challenges along the way. One of the things she learned was that the people you start with are not always the ones who grow with you. “The biggest mistake and hardest lesson I learned when I started my company is not getting rid of weak people earlier than I did in the first few years of my business. I spent more time managing them than finding new customers. I knew in my gut they were not up to snuff but out of loyalty to them I let them hang around much longer than they should have. It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there. They became more insecure and threatened as we grew which was not productive for the team. As soon as I let them go the culture got stronger and the bar higher. “A” team people like to be surrounded by other stars. It is true that you should hire slowly and fire quickly. I did not make that mistake again later on so learned it well the first time. I wish I had known it even earlier though but lesson learned!”
Since starting her business she has joined boards and volunteered at several organizations. Paige has been able to be a mentor to the next generation of leaders and has helped build a very successful anti-bullying program that >35,000 middle school aged kids have gone through. “I am happier and healthier than I have been in more than a decade. As a marketing consultant I am able to write articles, contribute to books and speak at events to share my experience and lessons learned.”
Like many entrepreneurs, Paige has found that the harder she works, the luckier she gets. You need to pay attention to serendipity since prospective customers can come from anyone anywhere anytime. “Be nice to everyone & make friends before you need them, you never know who is in or will be in a position to help! It is true you should never burn a bridge, that really is great advice and I can tell you dozens of stories over the years where that has served me well. You just never know when your paths will cross again with old colleagues, former bosses, etc. Kill them with kindness and don’t ever burn that bridge, trust me it pays off! Also, be the best prepared at every meeting, work your butt off and smile. It has worked for me at least!”
Catch up with Paige at her website.