On today’s blog we are featuring Teena Cardozo, President of BrandMunki Branding and Advertising Design Firm. Teena and I have been friends for a few years and I was inspired how she built her firm from the ground up while landing major clients along the way. She is smart, fun and driven and in her post, shares what makes her Create2live.
Make Ideas Happen
1) What made you realize that BrandMunki was something you HAD to do?
After graduating from Jacksonville University, I quickly landed my first corporate job with Quest Corporation of America (QCA), a marketing agency in Land O’ Lakes Florida. I remember such a nervous excitement! This was my time to learn and shine; it was my priority to absorb every little bit of information possible. This opportunity with QCA also created one of the most influential encounters in my life to date; Sharlene Lairsey.
Sharlene is intelligent, beautiful, and the owner of QCA. I was inspired by her ideas, her confidence, and the way she encouraged others to continuously improve and think BIGGER! Sharlene became more than my boss; she was my friend, mentor and a secondary mother figure. I was amazed at how she started and then created such distinction for her company, as a minority woman-owed business. I began asking questions about entrepreneurship and gathered the nerve to pitch an idea for the creation of a division within QCA called: BrandMunki.
Since QCA works with government based clients, there wasn’t much room to incorporate risks and creative flare, which really define my creativity. BrandMunki would serve as an outlet to work with my personal contacts and/or clients that have been reaching out with requests for work in the entertainment industry. After my pitch to Sharlene, I dried away the sweat from my forehead, calmed my shaking hands, and awaited her reply.
She said, “Let’s do it!”
That is how BrandMunki was born. I was so excited to get started! After a year, the division was doing well, so Sharlene and I decided it was time for me to stand-alone. Thanks to Sharlene’s wise council and mentorship, I became the proud owner of BrandMunki!
2) What was the scariest part of leaving your safe, stable job and starting your own venture?
I think the scariest part about leaving my corporate job was knowing that all the responsibility of my future landed on my shoulders. There are no vacation or sick days. It is up to me to get projects completed and completed correctly.
3) What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking of doing the same? Did you start on the side before going full time?
I would suggest that anyone who wanted to start their own business really make sure they are prepared to give up a lot of their free time. It literally is like having a child. Make a business plan. Understand what it is about YOUR BUSINESS that makes you different. That is what you need to market.
4) What’s been the biggest reward of leaving your day job to pursue your dream job?
My biggest reward about staring BrandMunki has been the life lessons I have learned as well as the acknowledgment I have received from my peers in my industry. Being able to stand on my own two feet and have a team beside me has been the most rewarding experience of my life.
5) What are some of the projects BrandMunki has done? Did you ever think you’d get to do projects like this?
Some of BrandMunki’s projects have been the brand creation of some really exciting companies. Such as CURE Putters, a putter line that has taken off in golf courses all off the East Coast. The rebranding of Irish 31, a local restaurant and pub in the Tampa Bay/Sarasota area, which has now expanded to more than seven locals and growing. And lastly, a brand creation and website design for Professional Athletes, Denard Span with the San Francisco Giants, and Will Allen with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Assisting them in the creation of their non-profit foundations.
If you’ve been thinking about starting your own venture we hope Teena’s story inspires you to get closer to the edge. What’s holding you back from starting today?