We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My plan to start and grow a business was fueled by 3 things: my desire to do truly great work, my interest in continued learning and the need for flexibility with my work/life balance. I initially transitioned from an agency role to a consulting scenario the year before I formally launched my business. Having the balance of stable income from consulting along with a more flexible schedule enabled me to focus on planning and setting milestones for growing Helium.
What should our readers know about your business?
My company, Helium, specializes in digital marketing with a focus on website design/development, email marketing and digital strategy. One of Helium’s areas of focus is helping to demystify digital marketing tools plus elements and showing clients how they can identify the best mix of digital tools to support their business needs.
I truly believe that you get back what you put out and that has rung very true in terms of my professional endeavors. Since I founded Helium, I have aimed to support a range of pro bono projects to help small businesses who don’t have budget available to support their marketing needs. When the pandemic hit, we increased our outreach and took on more pro bono work. To complement this, I feel like opportunities for paid clients continued to grow (and we started getting a steady stream of referrals from pro bono clients).
Even from a young age, I have gravitated toward the tenets of branding and marketing. My fascination with branding started with a focus on the music business (when I was in high school) and evolved to include a wider range of brands and digital marketing. I used to research and collect information related to entertainment endorsements, agencies and other marketing activities. While I don’t have any exceptional creative skills, I feel fortunate to have been able to work closely with creative elements from the business side of things.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would start with exploration of the city – eating at one of the restaurants in Krog Street Marketing, touring the neighborhoods in East Atlanta, the King Center, Summerhill (Wood’s Chapel BBQ) downtown/Olympic Village area, the Aquarium and Castleberry Hill
We would take the guided tour of the Beltline and then explore some of the northern neighborhoods (Buckhead, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Chamblee). For meals, we would check out the BuHi area for Korean BBQ, dim sum or other international food.
Our next excursion would be to North Georgia and the Blue Ridge Mountains. We would start with Dahlonega and would get lunch at a winery (Wolf Mountain or Kaya). We would then go to a flower farm or orchard (depending on the season) and then to a waterfall (Amicalola or Anna Ruby Falls). We would explore the Helen area and some of the amazing views along the nearby parkways. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
AMA Atlanta (American Marketing Association, Atlanta Chapter) My mentor – Laura Frizzell
My accountability partner – Zachery Sutton
My ops support – Carrie Pitchford