Every now and then, we all need a push. For me, sometimes it’s a shove. For the last year or so, my long-time friend Shalyn Dever, has wanted to team up on a venture. “Ash, we have to start a PR firm,” she told me over coffee one day. A few weeks later, it was “You know, Ashley, we really need to start a marketing firm.”
Shalyn is a hell of a saleswoman — six months ago we started Chatter Buzz Media, LLC.
FRIENDSHIP AS A FOUNDATION
Shalyn and I met in 2002 through our sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha. She studied engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and I studied journalism at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
We had fun doing regional community services and attending social events together.
After graduation, Shay worked for lots of Fortune 500 companies as a senior engineer and program manager. She also owned and operated a web design firm.
I worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, PR gal and marketing manager. Over the years we stayed in touch and eventually reconnected in our home city, Orlando, Fla.
YOU WANT TO DO WHAT?
Initially, Shay and I toyed with the idea of being ‘business roommates’ and renting office space to share.
Later, we talked briefly about creating a new entity separate from her web design company and my writing firm.
Yet, after too many bottles of wine one evening, we decided to start Chatter Buzz, an inbound marketing agency specializing in website design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation.
We chose the name because you need chatter or people talking about your services or products in order to have buzz. Chatter creates buzz, and buzz can help your business grow.
Once we told the universe that we wanted to have our own company, the universe responded — in a big way.
Since we started Chatter Buzz, Shay and I have outgrown our first office, and have a team of 9 working with us.
We have great clients, and we are learning so much. Since we started Chatter Buzz, we have been blessed with a great reception from the community.
We won Social Madness, a social media corporate challenge, for the Orlando small business market only a few months after our founding.
I have always been a very cautious person who likes to research an idea to death before I make a move. But Shay has taught me that trying to be too perfect can inhibit you from ever getting anything done.
Being so fearful that you may fail or that you may make a fool of yourself can stop you from doing anything at all.
I think it’s important to have a healthy dose of fear to keep you grounded, but to not allow fear to paralyze you.
Shay and I are complete opposites and it’s a very good thing. She laughs at risk. She’s totally fearless. She is the jump-into-the-deep-end-we’ll-learn-how-to-swim-on-the-way-down-fake-it-til-you-make-it kind of entrepreneur. And she’s incredibly successful!
As entrepreneurs, you learn that it’s OK to not have all of the answers. You don’t have to be perfect. In fact, you’ll be much happier when you accept that failure is part of the journey. You have to be strong enough to take smart risks and ask for help when you need it.
Shalyn and I complement one another and are stronger because of each other. She is just the type of business partner that I need — one who will push me when I’m too scared to make a move, but also compassionate enough to grab my hand during the fall down!
To learn more about Chatter Buzz Media, check out (and vote for!) the company’s video entry in the Orlando Chamber’s BIG Awards: