By: Jessica Myers, CEO
This week’s woman to watch is Lindsey Germono. She is the founder of Germono Advertising Company, an agency that provides small business owners with traditional and digital marketing creative strategy, execution, and support. I discovered Lindsey through the MilSpo Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing career advice and networking opportunities for military spouses. Not only is Lindsey a military spouse herself, she is on the Milspo Project’s Board of Directors, founded her own company, and runs the podcast Drop and Give Me 20, which highlights the business journeys of military entrepreneurs across the country.
I admire Lindsey for her creative energy, business acumen, and commitment to helping other entrepreneurs achieve their goals, and I’m so excited and grateful she could share her insight and advice with me in this interview.
When and why did you start Germono Advertising Company? Was there a catalyst or was it something you always wanted to do?
The advertising agency was a combination of opportunity, discontent, and skill set. It became very clear to me during my years working for television stations that I excelled in helping small business owners. Those owners would gravitate towards me and I saw a need there and worked to create a solution. Germono Advertising Company® was born in December 2013, and I celebrate every day that I get to wake up and help others with their businesses. Honestly. People reading this are probably thinking, yeah right we know you have business owner problems like the rest of us. And I do! But I have never woken up with as much vigor working for someone else as I do now.
The ad agency assists companies with traditional media (tv, print, radio, and outdoor), as well as providing instructional assistance via consulting to those who don’t have a traditional media budget. Those small business owners rely heavily on social media, so we tailor a strategy to fit their goals and needs, whether it’s creating content or managing their social media feeds. We also have a great niche of serving businesses owned by military service members and veterans.
When, as a military family, we were faced with potentially moving out of the area, I wanted to be able to carry my career and business with me, no matter where we went. That situation, along with hearing amazing stories from other successful military entrepreneurs, inspired the Drop and Give Me 20® podcast. I wanted to share those stories with other military spouses like myself to let them know this is an exciting time and show them how to turn those lemons into lemonade.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make tough choices for the health of your business? How did you deal with that and what was the result?
Oh, so many! I’ll share two that may resonate with readers.
First, I learned the hard way that competition is fierce and will always be there. During that fragile first year of business, I learned what a competitor was saying about my agency and I froze. I was totally thrown off because they were a professional acquaintance and a friend. But thanks to advice from my mentor through SCORE, I removed my emotional response and positioned my next moves more strategically. Competition is there and now it drives me instead of freezing me. Because of that mentor, I now embrace competition.
Second was standing my ground on our agency rates, even if it cost us clients. One particular client couldn’t come to terms with our rates and instead of lowering the fees, we had a discussion and ended up not moving forward together. It’s not just me running a business anymore, I need to pay people! I think this point in business is very difficult because every business leader wants to work with clients, but standing your ground on rates means so much more. It means setting an example, having pride in your work, and knowing at the end of the day you have bills too. I can’t pay my mortgage company in smiles—trust me, I’ve tried.
As a military spouse, business owner, and host of the Drop and Give Me 20 podcast what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs that want to stay mobile?
I love running a remote company and having employees all over, but I do feel that growing roots in your local area is important as well. This means going out and networking with local organizations and encouraging your staff to do the same. If you can’t get out of the house, invite someone else to have coffee with you virtually!
If you want to stay mobile, I highly recommend:
- Investing in the right computer equipment and reliable software programs (hard wire into that internet at home—trust me on this).
- Finding reliable IT support. When you’re mobile, you can’t just call someone from down the hall to fix your faulty internet connection or computer bug.
What are the ways you like to challenge yourself for continued growth?
I take professional development quite seriously. Marketing and advertising changes quickly and continuously, so I challenge myself to stay on top of trends. I’m constantly reading, listening, taking certifications, signing up for workshops, and attending conferences to keep learning.
What are you working on right now that you’re most excited about?
I am so excited to just type this out: we are expanding! I cannot even begin to tell you how much work this is, but it’s so exciting to build out the marketing coaching division of Germono Advertising Company.
Who do you look to for inspiration?
My employees are a tremendous source of inspiration. When I first started out, I was in my head a lot and navigating things solo. When I started hiring, I began shifting things based on employee feedback. One person proposed a really great idea for the podcast, and I implemented it for season two. It’s incredibly inspiring for me to see employees shine and to provide them with what they need to be successful. Being able to provide careers that move and grow as my employees do is incredibly inspiring, and it’s something I work on every day.
What women are you watching right now?
I’m a big fan of Chelsea Handler after seeing this video, and I love everything Melanie Duncan does! I’ve also built up an incredible network of friends and colleagues and learn so much from Elizabeth Boardman, Erica McMannes, Jean South, and so many more. I recently attended a conference where Erin Fischer spoke, and she was incredibly moving.
What women do you watch for inspiration? Share with us in the comments or get in touch!