Jump in Like You Mean It and the Results are Undeniable
Tami Heaton founded Undeniable in 2014 as a boutique creative agency specializing in brand development, web design, content strategy and experiential marketing.
How did you get started?
I spent a dozen years living in New York City, making websites for TV networks by day and staging live events by night. I helped start a hugely successful roller derby league, I hosted live music events in some really amazing locations. Then I moved to Austin to learn filmmaking. Everything I had done with my life before I started the agency just seemed to lead up to that moment - I had learned a huge amount about creating spectacle, about promoting things in big ways, about being in tune with trends and telling stories that people connect with. When I came back to the Midwest, I wanted to combine all those skills and use them to help other businesses in their journey.
How did you overcome your biggest challenge?
Bootstrapping a business is hard work - people tell you that, but you don't really get it until you do it. I think most business owners work longer and harder than they ever did when they worked for other people - but I also think most wouldn't trade it for anything. When you're a creative services provider, the nitty gritty of growing a business can be really challenging when you're already putting in long hours on client work. That's something that is a challenge every day, and it always will be. But it's important to me to have that hands-on involvement in the creative aspects of the work.
Who helped you?
I've worked with REDI and the Downtown Incubator in Columbia to get focused in terms of my overall goals, and they've been enormously helpful in terms of getting reacquainted with the community. I've worked with SCORE to help me get the nuts and bolts in place and to think about the big picture in terms of things like financial projections. And I'm in some really amazing online communities for entrepreneurs that are the backbone of my support system. My family has also been pretty great in terms of supporting this career move.
What's your best advice for a startup?
Jump in like you mean it. I spent a year dividing my time between the agency and freelance writing gigs - it made me feel like I had a safety net. But in reality, that lack of singular focus was holding the business back. Once I committed wholeheartedly, things started to really happen. I share this story with most of my clients now.
Why is Columbia a great place to run a business?
Columbia is a great place to run a business because it has a hugely talented pool of writers, designers and artists, and a low cost of living. It's easy to make connections, and people really support local businesses. I also love being close to the people I grew up with - I feel like I have a real support system of people who are invested in my success here.
Undeniable is one of the competitors in the first MOSourceLink Battle of the Brands. Vote for Undeniable and other Missouri brands at www.mosourcelink.com/battle-of-the-brands.