I would love to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs and have the courage to think outside the box. In today’s hyper-digital eco-system it’s so important to harness the power of creative thinking, especially with our youths.

As part of my series on strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Connie Chi who is the founder and CEO of The Chi Group, an award-winning global marketing and branding agency humanizing brands. Chi has been featured in Business Insider, American Marketing Association, US News and World Report, Herald Tribune, Glassdoor, and many other media outlets. She also hosts a podcast called, “The Brand Academy Podcast” where she shares her secrets and insights on marketing and branding. Connie has also written a book called, “Branding Without A Brand,” where she shares expert insights on building a brand that evokes curiosity. For more information about The Chi Group visit www.thechigroup.co

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I had 3 failed businesses prior to starting The Chi Group. For over 16 years I had worked in corporate essentially working on other people’s dreams. One day I realized that I was extremely unhappy because no matter which company I went to I never felt fulfilled. It was in my search for a more meaningful career that I decided to become an entrepreneur.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

When I started my own business, like every entrepreneur the biggest question was how do I get my first client? Essentially my mom was my first biz dev person. She was reading the newspaper when she saw an article about a new chain supermarket being opened in our local area. So I did some research and managed to connect with the person in charge of marketing and from there was able to secure my first client working with a nationally recognized brand.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started building my business I was looking for a mentor and when I heard Richard Branson was in town, I went to go hear him speak. Afterward, I wanted to meet him and when I did, I wasn’t prepared with questions to ask. Instead, as Richard was getting into his card I flung my business card into his lap as the car door closed. The biggest lesson is always be prepared for the ask, knowing what you want and having the tenacity to be creative.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

LinkedIn has been a primary source of increasing revenue for myself and our agency.

  1. New Clients: I wanted to work with fashion clients and it was through Linkedin that I had connected with a well known NYC fashion director and worked with him as a client for over a year.
  2. Speaking Opportunities: Being a speaker and a founder of The Chi Group, I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries through the platform asking me to speak at events.
  3. Finding International Clients: I’ve also met a lot of international clients who would reach out to me via Linkedin asking our agency to help market their brands in the US
  4. Connecting with People: Linkedin has been a platform that has also allowed me to find people who are decision makers. It’s definitely much easier than scouring the internet for contacts. At one point I was able to connect with show producers who were kind enough to feature some of the clients I work with.
  5. People Can Find You: I’ve also found that many people will utilize Linkedin to research who you are and what you do. It’s always impressive when people take the time to digitally get to know you because you’re more likely to not just give them your time but also your business.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs and have the courage to think outside the box. In today’s hyper-digital eco-system it’s so important to harness the power of creative thinking, especially with our youths.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I’ve always admired Barbara Corcoran and Tina Sharkey CEO of Brandless. These women have been a huge inspiration to me from the way they think to how they run successful businesses as female CEOs who truly make a difference in people’s lives.

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