She’s strategic, focused, and not afraid to ask for help
Gabriella Payne is the CEO and Founder of The Boss Blueprint Agency, a branding agency based in Washington, DC. With a unique approach that combines the tactical with the creative, Gabriella has served over 50 privately owned small businesses in the areas of branding, marketing, and strategic planning since launching in 2017. Her rare ability to morph and think from other people’s perspectives has been key to growing her agency, and it also provides her with a continuous fresh perspective as an entrepreneur. Gabriella loves what she does and makes it a priority to share what she’s learned with fellow business owners.
Read on for Gabriella Payne’s strategic, focused, and fearless point-of-view:
On knowing when it’s time to make the leap (Spoiler: you won’t!)
You have to make it a number to hit because it will never feel like the right time. You have to focus on financial stability and then go from there. I spent eight months building up my savings before I took the leap to full-time with my agency. If you’re wondering when you’ll feel ready you should instead ask yourself, “What’s my number?” and then work towards that.
On working through business challenges
My first line of defense when I have a business issue or challenge is my whiteboard. I go to it, brainstorm, and get everything out. If that doesn’t work, I step away and do something else. If after that I still don’t have it figured out, I reach out to my mentors. Humility is important— be okay with having help and not knowing it all. You have to be willing to ask and most importantly receive help!
On why everyone should also have multiple mentors
I have three mentors: One is in the same industry as me, one has experience in the end game I’m shooting for, and one is very well connected— She can connect me to anyone, with any ask that I have.
One of my mentors saw what I was doing on LinkedIn and offered her help in anything I needed. Sometimes it’s just about showing up and letting the right people find you. I found another one of my mentors by just direct messaging and reaching out to them on Instagram. The other mentor I found through SCORE, which is a great resource for finding someone to help you get to your end game. Don’t be afraid to reach out! Two of my mentors I have never met in person, but that doesn’t matter. Having people to go to for different insights has been crucial for me.
On what surprised her the most about entrepreneurship
I had no idea of the mental stress involved with being a business owner. My first year I was a wreck! I was not prepared, but experience is the only teacher. Because most of society is not a business owner, it’s unlikely you’ll be ready to actually be a business owner.
You have to be willing to go and get the support you need. People think it’s the money or making decisions that’s the most challenging aspect, but it’s not— it’s the you-versus-you and getting out of your old mindset that is the biggest thing you will have to overcome. What I have discovered is that you have to separate yourself from the business and know that it’s not your entire identity.
On how she sets and works towards business goals
I always start with numbers because I’m a business, not a non-profit! What am I trying to reach? What are the gaps? How can I get closer to it every month?
I understand the actions that directly correlate to sales, which is something that sets me apart from other businesses. Just because you like to do something doesn’t mean it’s an essential business task. There’s a lot of stuff that leads to revenue, and I have to make sure that I’m heavily invested in that.
On taking on all of the roles you need to succeed
There’s a big difference between being the CEO, the Founder, and the Owner. The CEO is all about strategy and leadership. The Founder is more mission-driven, and as the Owner you have to take on a more advisory role.
Yet you as the entrepreneur have to bring all of these perspectives to work with you everyday.