I would like to introduce a new series that has been swirling in my mind for a while now. As I was a Gender/Women’s Studies major in college, I am all about women’s empowerment. I think society needs that more than ever now, given what is going on in the world and our country. I hope to feature a new woman monthly who is killing it, hoping to inspire.
First up, I want to feature Christina Orso (@christinaorso on Instagram), who I have admired via social media for years, and had the pleasure of meeting once (along with her cute dog, Marty, who was an adorable little puppy at the time).
Christina has her own marketing business, and was kind enough to answer some questions that I asked her about her background and business:
- Let’s start at the beginning! I see that you went to the College of Charleston, but you grew up in MA, correct? As a kid/even in college, what did you see yourself doing professionally? What a great question! I went through many stages of career aspirations. I first remember wanting to be a secretary (now called an executive assistant) because my Grammy was one and I loved using a typewriter. Then I wanted to be a brain surgeon. By the time I got to college I considered pharmacy but ended up graduating with a degree in Spanish with the intent of working as a medical or legal translator.
- I see that you used to run a blog, “Healthy Meets Healthy;” was this the main impetus to getting into marketing and social media as your career? I started my blog as a way to chronicle my adventures around Charleston, most of which were centered around eating and working out. I quickly realized that I enjoyed writing and had a knack for using social media as a way to garner attention, whether that meant for my blog or for a business I was collaborating with. I didn’t even know at the time that I was teaching myself marketing skills along the way. Over the years I realized I wanted to work in a marketing role within the restaurant industry, and that is how I ended up at Boston Burger Company.
- You said that you moved from Charleston to Boston for your career. Can you discuss more about how you made this decision, and how it was a good shift for your career? I left Charleston for a couple of reasons, but one in particular was because I didn’t feel like I could grow in such a small town. Boston is a vibrant city full of opportunities and I knew that I would have a better chance of landing a gig that was a better fit for me.
- How were you able to garner your marketing, photography and social media skills? Were you self-taught, on-the-job learning, etc.? What resources do you recommend? I learned everything I know from having to figure it out. I’m a very curious person and when I’m passionate about something, I spend the time to make sure I can learn as much as possible. I’ve taken a bunch of online courses and learned a lot from my blog and previous positions. The internet is full of great resources like Skillshare, YouTube, and a bunch of other online course networks.
- You said that while working at Boston Burger Company, you were quickly promoted, and started taking clients on the side. This sounds like it was an “aha” moment for you; you really felt like you were in the right career. Can you speak to this? How far were you out of college at this point, if you don’t mind me asking? I started working for Boston Burger Company’s restaurant group when I was 30, so pretty far out of college. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do, but also how I could do that within the industry I wanted to be in (food & beverage). I was lucky enough to land a sales (ish) type of role at BBC, but after expressing an interest and a skillset on the marketing side, we were able to create a brand new role for me. I was working as the marketing director for the restaurant group for 5 years before I decided that I wanted to work with multiple restaurants, which is when I started my business.
- Could you please you speak more about the decision to go out on your own with your business? I had gotten to the point where I wanted to work with multiple brands in a more specific, focused way. I also wanted more flexibility and freedom. My former boss was the biggest motivator for me starting my business. It sounds funny, because at the time you’d think he wouldn’t want to let me go, but I was able to flip them into my very first client.
- What are your favorite things about having your own business? What are the challenging parts? My favorite aspect of owning my own business is the flexibility and freedom. I am not stuck at a desk in a traditional 9-5 role. The sky is the limit when it comes to making money versus in a salaried role where there are usually caps. The most challenging part is managing client expectations and communicating with a lot of people on a day-to-day basis. At this point, most of my clients have been with me for several years so I have great relationships with them.
- What is your advice for anyone wanting to start their own business? Have a clear plan on what exactly it is that you’ll offer and who your target audience (ideal customer) is. Clear, detailed contracts are crucial. Start a separate bank account and credit card. Be organized with tracking revenue and expenses and get a great accountant.
Thank you so much to Christina for taking the time to answer my questions and helping me kick off this exciting new series! Please visit her website. If there are any females out there killing it that you would like to nominate for the upcoming months, please DM me on Instagram!