We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Beth Henderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mary Beth, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Confession. There was not much, if any, thought behind starting my own business because I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur until the unforeseen forced me to make a move.

The irony of this is not lost on me as I careen into my 6th successful year as the founder and CEO of a brand and marketing firm specializing in new business formation and brand revamps.

I was a few weeks’ shy of my 29th birthday and 2-year anniversary with a quintessential tech start up that was, to be blunt, running me into the ground – think employee #5 and the sole source of estrogen among a “team” scattered across the country. Personal life a-shamble, I had just crawled back to Charleston following a failed relationship with little more than my two pups, a caffeine addiction, and a single bag of mostly stilettos to my name.

I had yet to unpack when my phone rang just before midnight – it was my boss telling me that funding was gone and I may or may not get my last paycheck. Click.

Gut punch. But I had furbabies to feed, so the show must go on. That morning I dried my eyes and sent out 10 emails to my limited network offering (read: begging) to take on any projects remotely related to marketing. Kind souls threw me some bones – handful of blog articles and copy for a new website – and I could scrounge together rent, ramen and dog food.

My thought process at that point was simply to stay afloat until I could find a job, but then, in a Shyamalan twist, small projects became retainer requests. Two realizations rushed over me: one, there was a neglected market of small business owners and entrepreneurs sitting right outside my front door and, two, when I should have been feeling my worst, I was becoming my best.

Three short months later, I founded Front & Center. I share my story not because I find it exceptional, but because I believe scenarios like mine – building the plane after takeoff with bubble gum, paper clips and a prayer – are more so the rule.

I see it time and time again with potential business owners talking themselves out of the pursuit because they don’t believe they have enough of an idea, enough of a plan, enough of the persona, or, ultimately, have enough of what it will take. It wrecks me.

Strategy, research, planning and thoughtful approaches are all welcomed and encouraged, but at some point you simply have to give it a go. Trust me, this is not a one-size-fits-all space.

You see, up until the universe gave this ginger chicken-sh*t a swift kick in the rear, I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur either – I thought the club was reserved for brain children in black hoodies backed by robust business plans and millions of investor dollars.

Zero to sixty, I quickly learned that this damaging stereotype glossed over the majority of business owners I have come to know, support and respect – the men and women from all walks who chose to turn an idea and hard-earned shoe box money into a life they love on their terms.

Messy, overwhelming, and reactive, I’m grateful for the lack-of-thought behind starting my own business because I doubt I would have seen the potential, let alone found the courage to pursue it, otherwise. It was the perfectly imperfect start for this type-A-risk-averse-over-thinker who is now uniquely suited to serve her clients with the safety net of a plan and phased approach, while holding space for a bit of that precious bubble-gum-paper-clip magic.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Based in Charleston, SC, Front & Center is a bespoke business coaching, brand development and marketing firm exclusively serving small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country.

Distinct in our approach, we begin Behind The Scenes by asking the hard questions, understanding your vision, and laying the groundwork for your unique path forward.

For some, this means slicing through years of noise and layers of distraction to realign your business with who you are today and where you want to go tomorrow. For others, it’s bringing that big, beautiful idea into being by finding your voice, creating your brand and launching your new business.

Once we have your personalized plan, we step out from behind the curtain to bring your business Front & Center through our full-service marketing arm with capabilities spanning branding and design, content development, social media management, website design, digital marketing and more.

With a steadfast commitment to reputation before recognition, Front & Center is on a mission to empower you to live a life you love on your terms through your venture.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My village. None of us do it alone, and my support system comprised of fierce, female movers and shakers has always and continues to surround, support and challenge me. I am a broken record on this, but it is mission critical as a business owner to get off your island. Ask for and give help early, often.

Website: https://www.frontandcenterllc.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frontandcenter.mktg/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryehenderson/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frontandcenter.mktg

Image Credits
Photography by Ed Brantley

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.