Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Follow her @marenhogan.
Who is your hero?
My husband and business partner, Jeremy Hogan.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Just go for it and follow your gut. Everyone has their two cents to throw in when you're starting a company. From marketing strategies to hiring practices, I was the constant recipient of unsolicited advice. Take everything with a grain of salt and remember that decisions about your business are yours, not theirs.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Working with friends/family has been both a blessing and a curse. A couple of times I went against my good judgement and forged business ties with close friends. When working with friends, use your common sense. You know if they're honest, hard working and accountable. I went into business with someone I knew didn't have those qualities, but our friendship caused me to overlook that. It's fantastic when you can work with friends, but choose wisely.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
The beauty of owning your own business is being your own boss! The first hour of my work day is spent in bed surrounded by my iPhone, iPad and Mac Air. I take this time to return emails, plan the day and strategize away. Coffee, mobile devices and a wonderful bed are the things that small businesses are made of.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Know your worth! One of my biggest mistakes starting out was low-balling myself. If you don't know what to charge for your services...figure it out. Get quotes from similar companies, ask colleagues and update your rates regularly.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Make your motto "Do Better." If you've hired right, you have a staff of adults who don't need a cookie every time a job is done. Create an environment conducive to evolution and growth. Encouragement should be used to push, not to create stagnant employees. Leaders move forward -- don't forget to bring your team.
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
My definition of success is growth. My small business is rapidly growing. In fact, we're growing right out of our office. Each time a new employee comes on it fills me with pride. It dawns on me that this is working! My business is thriving and my clients are happy. New business is coming in all the time, which means we need more hands on deck. That's success.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.