On the evening of September 10th, 2001, Christa Kleinhans Tuttle was attending a networking event and needed to make a decision: would she pass out resumes or business cards? After years of climbing the corporate ladder, the opportunity had presented itself for Christa to go off the beaten path and begin her own entrepreneur’s journey. However, the decision was risky, and to fail would be a career setback. With no time left to debate, Christa chose to begin her own marketing agency that evening and passed out business cards for The CS Company (later renamed Launch Marketing). When she woke up the next morning, the whole world had changed.
This is what Christa recently discussed with Thom Singer on the podcast Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do, nearly fifteen years after the historic day. Thom, the host and founder of the podcast, chatted with Christa about her personal entrepreneur’s journey, from her first year and a half of being in business through marriage and motherhood to now, as the successful CEO of a boutique marketing firm.
Advice for Up-and-Coming Entrepreneurs
One of the highlights of the podcast was Christa’s advice to budding entrepreneurs. When asked what she would recommend new business owners do, she gave two pieces of advice:
“Develop a clear vision for your company.” – Whether you’re in the service industry or creating a new product, think clearly about what pain points you can solve for your potential audience. Solve a problem that will make an impact on your customer.
“Don’t reinvent the wheel.” – When it comes to processes and scaling, efficiency is key. In a fast-paced environment, a lack of communication between individuals means that every new person to take on a task will metaphorically to reinvent the wheel to complete their job. It’s better to spend time learning from others—what works, what doesn’t work, and even what fails miserably—to avoid mistakes in the future.
A Recipe for Success
Beyond entrepreneurial advice, Christa discussed the importance of work-home balance in maintaining a successful and fulfilling life. When she’s not leading the Launch team, Christa is a kick-ass mom, an avid horse rider, and involved with Breakthrough Austin, as well as a number of other mentoring organizations. One of the core values of Launch Marketing is to maintain a passion for everything we do, and Christa spoke passionately both about her work life and about her life away from the office.
It is her passion for work that pushed Christa through the first challenging two years of business, immediately following 9/11. The country was in a period of great turmoil, and Christa commented that there were times in the fledgling years of Launch Marketing that she wondered what she had gotten herself into. However, she knew after hiring her first employee that she had chosen the right path for herself. And even in the difficult years, she persisted with positivity. “There was never a time when I thought, ‘Wow, I wish I were on a different path.’ This is my path.”
Want to hear the rest of the podcast and learn more about Christa’s story? Check it out here!