We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Reid and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was honestly to take a chance and to do something that I had been afraid to do for years. Entrepreneurship is not something that is often taught when a person is growing up, especially in the era that I was raised; I was taught to get a good career with a company, stay there for 30 years and retire. As a millennial, we are the generation that has been breaking through the standard status-quo on how people should live their life and refuse to settle. I had attempted part-time entrepreneurship in the past and enjoyed the creativity and freedom that it allowed me to offer my clients. The only reason that I stopped was because of the demands that I faced with my full-time career having me on call and expecting responses at off-duty hours even after working from 7 am-6 pm on many days. In corporate America, many of the “marketing professionals” and “marketing leaders” that I reported to often wouldn’t have more experience than I did; nor the knowledge or education. My business was started mostly out of frustration of growing tired of being hired as the “token” woman of color in a department and dealing with micro-aggressions and repetitive injuries on a consistent basis. I knew that being frustrated and gaslighted on a daily basis for my concerns within the organization not only for internal procedures, but ways that marketing could be done better were not mentally or physically healthy and knew it was time for me to place myself first. Before starting my business, I prepared myself mentally and emotionally knowing that I would be going from a consistent paycheck to being responsible for my own income and success. I had to emotionally prepare myself for rejection, as I knew that some of the people I reached out to wouldn’t be interested in my services, but I couldn’t allow that to stop me. I mapped out the type of clients that I wanted to reach, pricing, and made a list of things that I knew I needed to be successful; all while realizing that success wouldn’t be overnight and that it would be a lot of hard work. I knew I would need to highlight the skills and experience that others tried to downplay and take credit for in my previous positions, and that I also needed to prepare for growth once my business hit a certain size. Most importantly, I would need to have support behind me to ensure that I was ready for the opportunity; as no successful person achieves success without a team of experts or people supporting them in their efforts.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am the Founder and Executive Director of DR & Associates, Marketing and Communications Firm. DR & Associates specializes in digital marketing, diversity marketing and community connections, and influencer campaign management. We do everything from initial brand conception to marketing campaign management. I started DR & Associates as a part-time venture in 2017 and made it a full-time operation on October 1, 2019. What sets the firm apart from others is that we are a firm that is more than a vendor: we are a partner in success. Starting DR & Associates was not easy, as when I first started the business, I was undervaluing myself while overworking. When first starting a business, many people tend to accept anyone and lower their fees just to keep money coming in, but all money isn’t good money and all clients aren’t your target client. I quickly found my niche and the type of clients that I wanted to connect with whom all have a passion for what they do whether if it is in the medical, healthcare, non-profit, political, or e-commerce industries. I have learned now that the right client for DR & Associates understands the value that we bring to their organization, as we are not like any other firm: our experience and capabilities are unmatched with receipts of our success. I work with all size brands and organizations that understand the value of having an experienced and real marketing expert on their team for growth and many of our clients have gone from earning 0 for months to increasing sales and profits over 300% once we implement a strategy that is unique for their brand. I got to where I am today by staying true to myself and not downplaying my talents and skills how I previously had to do in order to please others while working in my career. I show clients my value alone just off of the awards and recognitions that I have received such as being one of the Top Rising Stars in Marketing and Communications by Google and one of the Top Women in Marketing and Communications in the US by Business Journal; both of these recognitions speak volumes about taking my position seriously and that I have made connections on a national level in spaces where others that claim to be marketing experts or gurus have not and will not reach. I’m also honest with clients on their expectations and how much of an investment they need to prepare for their goals. If something isn’t working, I pivot quickly and am able to bring my clients new creative options that WORK with proven success. In any business, you will have challenges, but you have to know how to pivot to overcome the challenges otherwise you will continue to fail and find yourself in the same position again and again. Understand that in business, everyone is not your target customer and that your target customers and clients will appreciate your brand and will stay loyal to your brand with referrals and great reviews. Although it may take some time to figure out who these people are, it is well-worth it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This would depend, as I am always on the go and my best friend is as well. I don’t club as hard as I did back in my younger days staying out at Mama’s Primetime until the wee hours of the morning (LOL) anymore and staying up for 24 hours straight. If we are in Atlanta, then some of my favorite places are Fellaship Atlanta, Table25, and Twisted Soul for drinks and food just to name a few since I’m a foodie and love a great environment that is laid back and comfortable. If we were on the go, then we would hit up Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, Bankhead Seafood, or any local food truck is fine with me as I love supporting locally owned chefs and business owners. We do love to shop so Lenox would of course be on the list. If I am in Memphis, I love Mahogany Memphis, SAGE, and CHAR if I am looking for a sit down experience for great drinks and food. I also love different food trucks, especially Mexican food such as Mr. Taco, and places like TrapFusion. Both cities have growth and new experiences happening so it’s no telling what we would find to get into! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my parents: two people who didn’t understand what being an entrepreneur consisted of at first, but now know exactly why I decided to go on my own path. They are always proud of what I do, especially my dad who reminds me on a weekly basis that I am the best at what I do and to not allow anyone to tell me otherwise.
Rodrick Okoth Ladarius Anthony