Tales from an Entrepreneur

Photo Credit:  Keri Kaba-Dien of Kabahead Kreations

Gail Cayetano

Co-founder of the Cayetano Legacy Collection
Consultant for ShopTalk LA
We often give you peeks into fashion and the latest trends here on our blog, but behind the scenes we frequently get asked many questions about building our business, and the entrepreneurship element of CLC.  So, we wanted to share a piece of that side of us with you.  Gail recently spoke at Career Synergy, a professionals group located in Santa Monica.  Here are some points from her talk.  – Karen  
“I was recently invited to speak at a meeting for the professionals group Career Synergy, and I happily agreed.  I was first introduced to the group by fellow Boston University graduate, Clare Gillmore, who had nothing but great things to say about how inviting this group was, and how she has benefited from the knowledge that comes out of their discussions– something that doesn’t always stand out when I attend any type of professional gathering (and why I typically don’t make much of an effort to attend many). 
I’m always impressed by new business owners; I think it’s tough to be able to stand out there on your own two feet without the comfort of a steady paycheck.  Because of that, hearing about other entrepreneurs, freelancers, contractors, etc motivates me.  I was in the company of many entrepreneurs at this meeting, and I was happy to share with them points on how to ‘Form Strategic Partnerships That Elevate Your Brand’. Here are a few tidbits I shared with my fellow entrepreneurs: 
·         Developing partnerships with other companies, brands, individuals, etc will help grow your own business quickly, effectively and legitimately.  While you may not necessarily have the credibility of a larger company when you’re first starting out, partnering with one that does can only help your reputation (as long as you do your research on them!).   Collaborations will take you far. 
·         Form a Board/Advisory Committee/ Mastermind Group, enlist Mentors = fill your life with experts in both your industry and in business in general. Not only will they have the experience and knowledge to educate you, but once they’re emotionally connected to your brand, they will be your best brand ambassadors and greatest cheerleaders.
·         Offer value to all of these partners in your life (your ‘Life Partners’).  Don’t just take and take, squeezing all of their advice and contacts out of them.  No one will want to work with you.  Instead, offer them value as well, whenever opportunities appear.  When you read articles that they may enjoy, email it to them with a short note.  If you have this type of cash flow, bring them into your Lakers’ box seats and watch a game together.  Or, if you’re like me and that’s not possible, here’s an example of something I did: a friend of mine had authored a children’s book, so I got him to sign a few and I mailed it to people in my life that have children.  No matter what the experience is, they’ll appreciate the thought and will continue to think of you as opportunities arise on their end.    
·         Ping, ping, ping.  Or Touch base, touch base, touch base.  Reaching out to someone you don’t know but would like to work with is intimidating.  Chances are they won’t answer that random blind email that you sent to them.  But try to follow up a week later with a quick message checking in to make sure they received your note, and you’ll have an even larger chance of them responding.  And then later on, check in a third time, because by now they recognize your name and you have reached the acquaintance mark.  
·         Be authentic.  It’s tough to have a ‘used car salesman’ attitude anymore, thankfully, where the objective is to say whatever needs to be said to make a sale, even if it involves lying.  The world’s so transparent nowadays – people can complain about you on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc and in seconds any bad experience can go viral.  So when recruiting these Life Partners, be honest in telling them about your business and goals.  They’ll appreciate the sincerity as you share this piece of your life with them.
For complete audio of the entire talk, click here.   Just kidding.  There’s no recording. I’m not that fancy yet.”

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