This week’s guest is Melissa Forziat, Owner of Melissa Forziat Events. She also helps a lot of small businesses with their marketing needs. Everything from free resources like her ebook to help them get started to marketing consulting and coaching.
Highlights From This Episode:
Melissa didn’t start off planning to create her own small business… She grew up competing in gymnastics but after she was done being able to compete, she wanted to be able to stay connected to the gymnastics and athletic world. So Melissa started doing major international sport events and started by volunteering at the 1998 Goodwill Games. Next she worked the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy and then worked a couple years for the U.S. Olympic Committee as part of their International Relations Department, 2010 Olympic Winter Games in BC, CA and the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. At the end of the Rugby World Cup, she ended up landing in Seattle and as she was interviewing for event planning positions and jobs around Seattle, everyone wanted to know what she had done here specifically. In one of her informational interviews, she accidentally said that she is now accepting new clients. A week later that person referred a client to her, who was looking for a free-lance event manager… And so Melissa Forziat Events was created! After starting her own business, she also has the flexibility to work some additional international sporting events again, like she did with the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil.
The marketing piece came a little later, as you can’t really do an event without marketing it, so they are really go hand-in-hand. When she got to Seattle, many of her friends ended up being small business owners and she was always getting questions from them about how to grow their client base, often on a very small budget. She also started working closely with a Venture Non-Profit, a Seattle organization that helps educate and train low-income, minority and other under-serviced people on how to take their idea and start their own small businesses. They also have limited resources and so she found that the skill set she was building to help her small business owner friends and the clients of Ventures was very much the same… People just trying to get by, pay their employees, take care of their families and pay for life but don’t have a lot of money to get their message out there to acquire new clients and grow their business.
Melissa got involved with Ventures Non-Profit (check out our interview with Beto Yarce, Venture Executive Director on Ep. 28), as a means to get to know more people in Seattle and be able to help. She started volunteering with them on a committee and was then invited to join the Ventures Board of Directors. She really sees the value of small business owners being able to be part of a community like Ventures because so many business owners, despite the type of business, share the same pinpoints and struggles as they figure out how to start and run their own business and sharing and learning from each other and realizing that they are not alone in it is huge.
Though Melissa’s business is named Melissa Forziat Events, most of the events she works on a larger scale projects, while she does a lot more on the marketing side for small businesses and solopreneurs. Even if you currently have zero dollars to spend on marketing, she has options for that… like her FREE “Small Business Marketing On A Budget” ebook and weekly blog with good marketing tips and a strong Facebook community full of other small business owners sharing tips, and helping each other out. Melissa provides a ton of free marketing information to help get small businesses to a place of being able to utilize her paid information, consultation and coaching.
- What do you love most about what you do? The people that Melissa works with. Whether working with a non-profit on an event or a small business on their marketing, there is an underwriting sense of passion she senses in her clients and she gets a lot of fulfillment in helping her clients realize their goals and dreams in their business, professional and personal lives.
- What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of running your own business? Staying confident. As your getting started and trying new things or taking on new types of clients, you may not have the experience yet to feel confident in your abilities.
- What was most surprising or unexpected with opening your own business? The shear volume of highs and lows in the roller coaster that happens in a single day.
- What set’s you apart from others in your industry? The majority of the businesses Melissa works with are micro-businesses (5 or fewer employees) and she really enjoys helping those smaller businesses grow and get to a better place and while she likes to work with businesses in Seattle, she works with businesses all over the world.
- What is your greatest strength? Creativity in both how she helps her clients and grows her business.
- What habit do you wish you had? Better sleep schedule.
- What are you passionate about? Supporting the people she cares about… and her clients end up becoming those people. She also does improve comedy in Seattle.
- In the past, what was holding you back from becoming the entrepreneur you are today? After doing one of her first speaking engagements of teaching an Advance Marketing Class for Ventures Non-Profit, she had a line of business owners lining up to ask her questions and she realized that she does think about marketing for a living and way more then most business owners do, so she does have knowledge to share and a valuable service to provide. It comes back to confidence in having something that can benefit and help others.
- What is the best advice you have ever received? “Except Invitations”.
- What is a personal habit that contributes to your success? A very detail oriented hard worker.
- Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites? Amy Porterfield podcast, which is a marketing focused podcast (I’ve heard an episode of Pat Flynn’s “Smart Passive Income“, with Amy Porterfield as a guest and it was quite good). The type of podcast’s you listen to can tell you a lot about how you want to be, based on what you are drawn to or relate to the content and how it is presented. Finding the podcasts you like and then asking yourself why you like it can help you develop yourself and your brand and speaking style.
- What is your one book recommendation for our listeners? Melissa’s FREE “Small Business Marketing On A Budget” ebook, which covers 10 different types of marketing that you can do if you have little to no money to spend on marketing.
Episode Links & Resources:
- Guest’s Website: http://melissaforziatevents.com
- Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelissaForziatEvents/
- Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MForziatEvents
- Guest’s offer: FREE “Small Business Marketing On A Budget” ebook
- Guest’s recommended books/tools/resources: Melissa’s FREE “Small Business Marketing On A Budget” ebook, which covers 10 different types of marketing that you can do if you have little to no money to spend on marketing.
- Guest’s favorite podcast(s): Amy Porterfield podcast, which is a marketing focused podcast
- Learn more about Christian, other projects he’s working on and his business at: www.Sea-Town.com
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