In this post, we have featured Charlie Heck, Founder of Checkmark Creative shares her entrepreneurial journey and she started with this business?
Read here the Interview of Charlie Heck!!
First of all thanks a lot for accepting my interview proposal. I and my readers are very pretty glad to have you. Please tell us about yourself and your educational background?
I’m so happy to be here! I went to college as a print journalism major and graduated into the recession. I was in love with writing and reading as a child and felt a duty to inform the public and headed straight to Washington, DC to find a media job.
But instead of going into news, I went into science. I started in the public affairs department of a foundation in the US federal government. There, I got to learn how to produce videos, interview scientists and engineers and turn the most complex concepts in the world into short, fun social media videos.
I also got to develop a national podcast and web series. After the Obama administration, my talents were no longer needed and I was let go.
● Please tell us about your business Checkmark Creative and where did this idea come from?
I started my first business at 10. I was the marketing superstar for my parents’ small business in Texas. I learned from a very young age how to sell or tell stories in a certain way to get people to listen. After being fired from the federal government, I was living in one of the most expensive cities (Washington, DC) without a job.
Government work wasn’t something I wanted to continue, but I was really good at my job. I went back into the freelancing world. The name comes from a combination of my own name and the joy for checking off to-do list items. C. Heck, and I love checking off creative to-dos! Checkmark was born!
● How did you fund your business at the start?
Cue the gig economy… I started pet-sitting and dog-walking around the Washington, DC-area. I had an app-driven part-time job, which allowed me to work whatever hours I wanted. While I was doing that, I started freelancing and taking really low-paying gigs as a multimedia person in D.C. I reached out to videographers and interns from other projects and started building this creative agency.
I eventually got enough clients that I was able to move to California, and work completely for myself. But it was hard. I walked dogs in the rain, snow, sleet, had my car broken into, bitten a few times but would not change a thing.
● Do you have any Role Models that have influenced you? What Impact they had on you?
My mom is hands down my inspiration. I watched her struggle and create and work and balance everything as best she could. And
when they divorced, she worked and created and struggled to build it all back up again.
She has recently retired and my little brother is running the shop now. There was no Facebook, definitely no budget for radio or newspaper ads, they built their business on word-of-mouth and those lessons and experiences, I take into all this digital marketing newness. History does repeat itself right?? HAHA!
● As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I ask questions. Never assume you know a thing, especially when it comes to clients’ wants, needs or expectations! Ask questions, ask for clarification, ask for knowledge.
● How much is SEO important for any business?
I think it’s one of the most important things a business can invest in. Social media is in an interesting time. We have issues with security and data breaches, fake accounts, bullying, pay-for-placement, low organic growth rates. But the internet and Google, they’re not going anywhere for a while. I think a proper search engine organization plan is essential for any business, even if it’s just knowing your keywords.
● How do you manage your personal life with your professional life?
I don’t, just kidding! But also not. I go to a lot of classes and networking events and people who are working hard to make their side-hustle or dream job work…so they don’t have to work as much. I work every single day of my life.
Some days it’s just a text or one email, sometimes it’s from sun up to sundown. If you think that being your own boss means more personal time, I think you might be disappointed.
● Which Strategy helped you grow the business?
Word-of-mouth and answering emails, even if it’s just to say I’m on it! Every legal client I have – that’s our specialty now – was a referral. Listen to your clients, ask questions, turn in awesome work. Rinse and then repeat!
● What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?
Say no when you need to and set STRICT friends and family policy, which is basically no. I have no problem helping or guiding my friends and family, I LOVE what I do and can talk for hours. Most entrepreneurs will tell you that they should have said “no” to a
few things. There’s nothing wrong with building your portfolio.
But, there are some people who drain your time and energy without fully committing to a project or demanding expectations that your dream client’s budget couldn’t even cover. Set your own policies first, then dive in!
● What are the long term goals for your business?
Reasonable growth in a specialized market. We’ve transitioned to niche marketing in the legal field and it’s been successful. I really love the level of personalization I am able to give my clients right now.
Do I want to write 100 tweets every week? Not particularly.
But I think there is this rush to grow, reach these monetary milestones, pump out content nonstop, sell your company…grow grow grow! I would like to continue creating quality content with my clients, working with my wonderful small team, growing our client base but reasonably and with forethought, all while maintaining a virtual office.
My journalism background will always bring me back to the elements of a well-crafted story: A beginning, middle, and end that has heart and depth. I’m in no rush to get us to the
● What are some of your favorite quotes?
There is an anonymous quote that goes something along the lines of… stop standing in the ruins when there is a city to rebuild. It’s stuck out to me all these years. Things happen, building a business is hard, weathering economic instability is scary but if you
kept standing in that negativity or loss, we can get stuck in it.