Tag Archives: Jessica Flynn

3 Words

4 Jan

I often share with folks with my concept of sherpas. Finding those people whose opinions, insights and path you respect. They are out in front cutting trail and you can take their path and be part of their journey – learning and growing along the way.

I consider Chris Brogan one of my sherpas – (along with Tac Anderson, who I affectionately think of as ‘The Original Sherpa.’ Heck, that would make a great t-shirt!)

Do I always agree with the insights these two share or the path they are going down? No. But they always get me thinking, force me to revaluate my position, my opinions and develop stronger strategies and insights of my own.

Case in point – I really enjoyed the concept of 3 Words that Chris shared last week…“I come up with three words that I use as guidance for how I should conduct my efforts in the year to come. I set goals around these three words. I build deadlines and projects around these words…”

I have trouble setting resolutions. They’ve never really sat right with me. But I love a good mantra. And I love ‘3’s. 3 words? I can get behind that, stick to that and be inspired and focused through that. Per Chris’ guidance on coming up with your 3…

“Pick three words that help you the way a lighthouse helps a ship in a storm. Give yourself a word that guides you towards a powerful new opportunity, and that keeps you focused on what comes of this year. Use these words as starting points for tangible goals, SMART goals that can be measured and have dates to accomplish tasks by. These words sit above the actual goals, and set your guiding principles in place.”

Here are my 3 Words for 2011

Bones. Breath. Reach.

Bones – because this is a year where I need to really get the bones of the house in order, the infrastructure, the stability upon which to continue to build our agency. Growth has been good and good to us. Unstructured and unsupported growth would not be.

Breath – because besides needing to stop holding my breathe all the dang time I need to remember to take a breath first. Before I react, before I interrupt, before I dismiss an idea, before I say yes, before I say no.

Reach – because this year I need to extend my reach. Reach beyond the comfort zones of the groups and connections I have made to date. Expand my reach in my industry, expand the reach of my voice, reach for new opportunities.

– Jess Flynn

Reflecting on ‘entrepreneurial impact’ – or, Why I still get a kick out of being a business owner

24 Oct

(Several fellow business owners and I were recently recognized as Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalists by the Boise Young Professionals. Part of the process was an essay about our entrepreneurial impact. I must admit, second only to talking about myself in public, I really despise writing about myself. It’s uncomfortable and always feels egotistical. But, I chose to embrace it and keep my ‘essay’ as a touch point to refer back to on those days when it’s rougher than normal and I wonder, ‘Now why the heck did I start my own business????’ 🙂

In my job, I’m fortunate that I get opportunities to share my story and what I have learned about communication and business with a variety of audiences. Oftentimes, I explain that I’m an ‘accidental entrepreneur.’ Circumstance brought me here. Circumstance combined with instinct, luck and serendipity. While many start their professional journey knowing they want to start or run a business, the thought had never entered my mind until three years ago.

As a Gen Xer in my 30’s, I’m on my 2nd career and sixth job. I used to chalk that up to having ‘itchy feet’ – never being satisfied with where I was planted. But it is a characteristic I now embrace as part of the entrepreneurial mindset. Always looking for the new challenge, the additional opportunity to make a change for the better or explore a new path.

We launched Red Sky PR with the belief there was a market opportunity for strategic communication services in our Valley, that the growth of area companies demanded it, and that the communication expertise living in Idaho could compete anywhere. As one of the fastest growing independent PR agencies in the country this past year (O’Dwyer’s PR Agency ranking), that belief has been validated.

Alongside my partner Steph I’m extremely proud to have built a company that has grown from three employees to 12 in less than three years, doubling revenues year to year. Our team’s work has won statewide and national awards. We’ve competed and won. We’ve competed and lost. We’ve had great days and really bad days, fantastic camaraderie and painful conflict. And we’ve grown… and grown…did I mention we’ve grown? (And it keeps me up at night but we continue to grow!)

But the numbers can’t encapsulate what I find most rewarding; sitting at my desk and signing paychecks for our team and payment for our network of strategic partners throughout the Valley. It’s a thrill I would have never imagined.

Through our vision and hard work, we employ people. We provide professionals at all stages in their career with a chance to be part of something dynamic. We grow our economy. We impact our Valley’s future. An idea that began at a dining room table with a brainstorm board three years ago has turned into a sustainable company that satisfies a business demand and provides opportunity and lifestyle for a dozen people…and more.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say those that doubted our company’s ability to succeed drove me. Only focusing on the positive would be misleading. Doubt, obstacles and hard times drive an entrepreneur as well. We love to prove people wrong. Take a situation and make it tougher. Give us a rotten economy and we’ll want to show you what we are made of. I’m a competitive soul and running a business feeds that beast.

To summarize what I believe is my entrepreneurial impact; providing opportunities for our Valley’s communication professionals, giving back to our community through knowledge-sharing, showcasing Idaho – and Idaho expertise – to the country, and seizing the chance for our agency to be a thought-leader in the rapidly changing communication landscape.

– Jess

Make the Jump: iPad Apps for On The Go Communicators

15 Aug

It has been just about two months since I swallowed some more of the Apple beverage and snagged myself the latest bright shiny object. And while I’ve engaged in quite a bit of show-n-tell, along with justifying my purchase to a handful of doubters, I’ve been slowly integrating the tool into my daily life. While we haven’t engaged it for client purposes as much as I had hoped (besides utilizing it for some intimate presentations), I’ve found it extremely useful to help organize, integrate and streamline portions of my life. This round of Make the Jump is a run through of the iPad apps I’m finding the most useful for communicators on the go.

Evernote: I’m almost embarrassed to include this one. How have I lived without this capture platform until now? Who cares, it’s now living happily on my Mac, iPhone and iPad and serving a purpose on all three. Keeping my thoughts, musings, ideas, inspirations, images, campaign strategies, and sanity connected. A simple brand statement ‘Remember Everything’ is dead on. From notetaking in meetings to web clipping to travel plans and program outlines. While I love the pen and paper, I lost too many good ideas on notepads and sticky notes strewn about. No more.

Instapaper: These next two links will show that while I enjoy the online and virtual, my brain still craves the familiar of the static page and the page flip. Every day I come across full articles/posts/columns that upon a quick skim are intriguing. But if I followed my interest down every rabbit hole that opens I’d never move forward. Instead, I click ‘Read Later’ on my bookmark bar and it turns the web pages into articles I can read later – syncing between my laptop and iPad.

FlipBoard: The newest hot app (well, at least earlier this month), it’s your personalized social magazine. One of those, see-it-to-believe-its, it also allows me to browse, make the jump and absorb at my leisure in an appealing format that is visually stunning and super-skimmable.

Readdle Docs: I was adamant that my iPad not become just another laptop. So I don’t have my work email loaded onto it. Instead, I use Evernote and document management system Readdle Docs or DropBox to load, store and edit documents.

And for sanity? I’ve turned my iPad into my yoga and meditation studio. A take-it-on-the-road-or-to-the-office Zen platform. There are a lot of life improvement apps out there – but I’m really loving Relax&Rest and Pocket Yoga.

– Jess