Give Kris Ruby credit. At age 24, the ink is barely dry on her Boston University communications degree, and she's got two years under her belt as a business owner. She has amassed some excellent media placements that position her and her firm, Ruby Media Group, as social-media marketing and public relations experts. That ought to make potential clients take notice: if she can get herself some solid PR, she has a shot at doing it for you, too.
You can't swing a dead digital cat without hitting a bunch of social media and PR agencies, but Ruby feels her firm has an edge for a couple of reasons: the company was started by someone who came of age with social media and sees it as core to marketing, branding and public relations; and Ruby has her eye on baby-boomer clients. "I communicate really well with that generation. Baby Boomers are skillful in so many areas, but social media seems to be an area that is entirely new to them. A lot of consultants talk down to them because they don't get it immediately. Once they do get it, they totally embrace the technology."
Despite being fairly new to the business world, Ruby has already picked up some important lessons that other entrepreneurs can learn from -- and they are ones that most new business owners may overlook. When asked about what they did wrong in their launch period, most entrepreneurs don't talk about not eating well and being in bad romantic relationships. But when you think about it, there aren't impediments to success more daunting that holding yourself back physically and emotionally.
Ruby's Launch-Period Mistakes
- Lone-wolf syndrome. "One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is thinking they can do everything themselves and not hiring quickly enough. Not expanding beyond yourself is not a feasible business model."
- Rocket fuel. "In the first year and a half of my business, I worked straight through lunches and skipped meals. I also have naturally high anxiety -- which is a good thing because it helps me thrive under pressure -- and I would skip meals if I became too anxious about a business decision. I kept feeling extremely lethargic. After seeking the counsel of nutritionists and a team of doctors, my weight is consistent and I do feel better. I even chew gummy vitamins and mix Acai smoothies during the day. It is really important for me to take the time to eat and fuel my system because it enables me to be of maximum service to my clients when I am properly nourished. Now, I even love feeding my interns and making them smoothies, too. I definitely love when people eat around me; it's an important part of my company culture today.
Don't you know that you're toxic: "Ladies, listen up. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is sticking with a man who doesn't like you for who you are -- a powerful and savvy business woman. While a lot of men say they love the concept of being with a really bright, intelligent woman, it can also be intimidating for them, and many of them don't want to hear about your business, day in and day out. If you are with a guy where that gets old to him very quickly, you need to get out of it. When I look at some of the powerful women who have really made it today in their careers, I definitely would not classify them as nice, sweet or a girl who would stay at home and cook. They are totally rocking it and staying true to who they are, telling everyone else to get lost if they don't share the same vision."
Ruby's Best Decisions in Business So Far
- Niche marketing. "Staying local in Westchester and not moving to Manhattan has been great for my business. It has enabled me to really see how the media works on a more localized level and form critical relationships in my first two years of business. If I had moved straight into the city, it would be much more difficult because you are competing on such a wider scale so early on. I believe in the mentality of starting small and then growing larger, not the other way around."
- Digital detox. "I am not interested in the rat race. On the weekends, I like to relax and prepare for the week. This past weekend, I drove to the Hamptons and sat in traffic for 4 1/2 hours. To me, that is lost time that could have been spent more productively on something else. I try to do my own thing most of the time and take a digital detox on the weekends."
- Broadcast. "Expanding my brand into broadcast media has been great. I often forget that when you are out there you are much more open to public criticism. Learning that has been challenging for me, but I ultimately believe that expanding into broadcast has been a great opportunity to become part of the community in a completely different way. I like using all different forms of media, and creating an interactive experience for clients and fans."
Ruby Media Group is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.), an invitation-only nonprofit organization comprised of promising young entrepreneurs. The Y.E.C promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business's development and growth. This is part of an occasional series reporting on some of its members.