What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
For the past 30+ years, I have been working with businesses on their marketing. The first time was as a sales person and then sales manager for my college newspaper. I held intern positions with the San Diego Union Tribune and the new homes division of Coldwell Banker.
After college, I worked for a direct mail company for 3 ½ years and became a President’s Club member. When that company bought their biggest competitor, my territory (all our territories) got cut in half. That was the first time I came up against “the big picture corporate culture.”
Rather than have my income cut in half, I joined a national promotional products company and repeated the process of becoming a President’s Club member, while setting sales records for first-year sales and setting a record for the company to a million dollars in sales. In time, I was promoted to sales manager and began training my team to do what I had done. It was fun!
Corporate culture reared it’s head again as my ascent up the pyramid of corporate America was blocked by the hiring of the son of the company owner as VP of Sales.
It was during Thanksgiving of 1996 when everyone was going around the table that my mom noticed that when I said what I was thankful for, none of it had to do with my career. When I shared why, she asked me what it would take to open my own business. Giving it a moment of thought, I answered that “actually, the only thing I would need is a fax machine, because the one I have belongs to the company.”
She smiled, looked at my dad and said, “Write him a check!”
That was how Yuloff Creative Marketing Solutions was born. It was time to call my own shots and become a small business owner who could be in charge of his own destiny. Originally a promotional products company, the name was designed to accommodate the full range of marketing services and since that Thanksgiving, it has been blossomed and evolved fully in to its original purpose.
We even created a marketing plan system with Sharyn and I acting as a targeted marketing tactician for a variety of businesses.
Rather than sell one particular marketing tactic, we decided that it was better for our company clients if we first looked at their ideal clients – the people THEY wanted to help the most – and then find them the right marketing tools to help them attract those clients. It has been a lot of fun.
As a young girl, I watched 2 of my grandparents build a thriving crystal import/export business together and thought that it would be super awesome to have a life partner that I too, could build a business with. Interestingly, life didn’t turn out that way at first.
I had grown up hearing that I should do what I love. At first, that was teaching. After many trials at different types of teaching, I spent 5 years teaching Severely Emotionally Disturbed children, K through 12th grades. Yup, only 5 years and what I loved to do turned into a nightmare. And no real way to work with a life partner this way anyway, right?!
In re-evaluating, my next most favorite thing was math. I was the kid that finished my homework early and skipped ahead to see what was next… before I knew it, I finished my 8th grade math book before the end of the first semester. So I took this love of math and tried accounting. I accepted a job as an Assistant Controller at an independent film distribution house and grew in that job to Executive Assistant to the CFO. That led me to become the Human Resources Manager for an independent producer. I moved into the same job at a financial services firm, and finally became the HR Director for a 2D to 3D film conversion studio. It seemed like a logical progression at the time. I could also see a way to bring these real life business organization skills to my husband’s promotional products business, and my decades in HR to help his clients. Of course, while I was busy building my career, Hank was building a business and wasn’t exactly eager to hand over even one of the reigns to me, even if it was his least favorite reign.
When I was injured at that last job, and summarily laid off because of it, it became increasingly hard for him to just let me “play house” so he would delegate one task at a time. Over a lunch meeting with one of his clients, she mentioned that she may be looking for an Office Manager “soon.” I asked her to keep me in mind when she was ready, and maybe the timing and the money would be a match. And it was! We started a new division of Yuloff Creative Marketing Solutions that included Online Business Management and HR Consulting which I did for this one client and a few others that I picked up along the way. He even gave me the title of Vice President of that division, (the next obvious progression in my career?) over which we still enjoy a laugh.
Over the course of the next several years, Yuloff Creative took up larger and larger chunks of my time and I learned more and more about the delicate dance of working with my husband, building and growing a business and how clients market themselves. I also grew to realize that during those 15 years in Human Resources, I was already handling a core marketing issue: mostly Internal Marketing, the company to its employees, but while hiring, it was also External Marketing.
And now, as more of our clients are also couples and entrepreneurs, I realize that I truly have come full circle. Yes, we are creating strategic marketing plans, and we are also teaching what we have learned and continue to learn every day: marketing strategies as well as business building and interpersonal relations.