Entrepreneurship is a Journey, Naomi Got Personal
She has a smile that lights up a room and an infectious persona that can make anyone feel at ease. Naomi Garrick is more than the PR Chick. She is a savvy entrepreneur who understands the power of leveraging experience for success.
Naomi’s life journey hasn’t been simple. She’s not one of those people who knew exactly what her career path would be for the first portion of her life.
Let that sink in for a bit.
Naomi did not have a clear sense of her career path.
Society dictates that everyone should know exactly what they want to do with their lives by grade ten. However, life often leads us along completely different paths.
This reality forms the foundation of Naomi’s story. I had an insightful interview with her and hope that you’ll be encouraged by these nuggets of truth she shared.
How did you discover your passion?
I live by the mantra, “The journey is the reward.” Life has taken me on several unique paths that provided me with invaluable experiences.
There was no clear sense in my mind while I was in high school of what I wanted to become. At a very early age, I thought I wanted to be a flight attendant but I soon discovered that I did not enjoy being on aeroplanes.
Thankfully, people around me believed I had a personality suitable for the hospitality industry. Their encouragement led me to start a joint Hospitality Management degree at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and University of Technology (UTECH).
At the end of my final year, an internship opportunity came up while I was still completing my degree. The short version of the story is that I still had 2 courses outstanding to graduate, but I took the opportunity at a major hotel on the North Coast and ended up not completing the degree.
I worked in the hospitality industry for approximately three years. The long hours and being away from friends and family became a bit overwhelming and it became clear that maybe the hospitality industry may not be the right fit for me. I also had personal goals for my life beyond a career, one of which was to be able to start a family and still have the time and flexibility to be an active participant in both – I didn’t see this happening in my current situation.
So, I made the decision to move back to Kingston.
Through a series of fortunate events, I transitioned into media and marketing and somewhat “bucked up” on public relations (PR). A colleague of mine, approached me to do public relations for a budding Jamaican entertainer. I had no experience in PR but I believed that my knack for writing, and credibility in the media industry, would aid me as I pursued this opportunity.
I jumped into the unknown.
While still working as a media professional with RETV, I became pregnant with my son, and decided to look for other opportunities that would give me more time and flexibility to spend quality time with my family while working. After working in thte media for 5 years another opportunity presented itself.
The Spanish Court Hotel was opening in Kingston and needed a Corporate Communications Manager. Again, I had no experience in that particular role, and no degree - however, I got dressed and showed up. I realized that I could combine my hospitality experience along with my media experience from RETV, and my role as a publicist for local entertainers to position myself for this new opportunity – and guess what, I got the job!
Very quickly however, the nuances of the hospitality industry were again prevalent. This wasn’t where I saw myself in the long-term. I was grateful for the opportunity, but something needed to change.
I still wanted an opportunity to be in a role that would allow me time and flexibility and also to do something that I truly enjoyed. I soon realised that there was a business opportunity in the market. Would I be bold enough to leave the security of a stable income to enter the testy waters of entrepreneurship and start something on my own?
Well, I took the plunge and haven’t looked back since.
That was over ten years ago when Garrick Communications was born. My business filled a gap in the public relations industry since at the time of entering the market there was a very limited amount of agencies that focused solely on PR services. Over the last 10 years I have been enjoying the value that our agency and PR chicks bring to our clients by providing creative storytelling and utilizing traditional, digital and experiential media outlets to share their brand stories.
The last 3 years has lead me on a journey of self-discovery and personal development that is slowly leading me towards my true passion of helping individuals to discover the greatness within them and showing them how to communicate this to their ideal audience. I do this now through Personal Branding. As a personal branding coach I help individuals to get clarity on who they are, understand their unique value and communicate this effectively.
This role brings me great joy and fulfilment as I am able to impact the lives of others in a positive way.
What is the greatest challenge that you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
I’ve never been great with numbers. That’s an aspect of business that I have been working on consistently. I am always willing to learn in all areas of my life and I am never afraid to ask questions.
Participating in business accelerator programs has helped me develop some fundamental skills in business finance. One of the most important lessons I have learnt is that I should work on my business rather than in my business. Let me break this down a bit.
An entrepreneur who is working on the business is not doing the day-to-day tasks that could either be delegated to someone else or could be automated. Instead, this entrepreneur spends more time on things that can make money for the business.
My job is to bring clients into the business. Once we have clients, my team has been trained so well that they know how to help these clients in our unique way.
What tips would you give for getting new clients?
Start by identifying what your business is and who you’re trying to serve. Everyone isn’t your audience so trying to reach everyone won’t work. Think carefully about these questions:
What problem are you solving?
Who are you solving the problem for?
How can you target this specific audience more effectively?
How can you serve your target client or customer better?
Where are the best places to go for professional development?
Opportunities won’t just fall into your lap. You have to actively seek them. Start by being specific with what you’re looking for and then use the internet to find what you seek. I have personally benefitted from, Scotiabank’s Vision Achiever program and the Vital Voices Grow Fellowship.
LinkedIn is also a great platform to access current industry-related content. It’s a platform that you should definitely use if you want to connect with people that are serious about business and to become a thought leader in your area of expertise.
What tips would you give to new entrepreneurs?
1. Get a mentor(s)/sponsor(s).
You’re going to need people who can support your journey and introduce you to the right people. This could help accelerate your business growth.
It’s not a quick fix. You should spend time understanding your objectives, the best mentor to help you meet those objectives and the type of advice you’re seeking. A mentor is there to guide you, not tell you what to do!
Write a wish list of the people you would want to approach. Spend some time researching these people so that you can show genuine interest in what they do rather than focus solely on pushing your objectives. Also, consider the value that you can add to your mentor based on your skills.
All the information you need is out there. Start reading, listening to podcasts and/or watching educational YouTube videos. Use Audible to listen to books in your car or while you’re doing whatever it is you need to do.
I may not do everything that is recommended in the books I read. However, I extract valuable lessons and apply them to my life.
A book I highly recommend is Timothy Ferris’ book “A Tribe of Mentors”. It details life advice from some of the best in the world and it’s one of the books I have learnt a lot from.