In today’s frequently volatile business environment, navigating through challenges and setbacks requires not just strategy and skill, but also embracing a winning mindset.
Zoetica Media founder Kami Huyse recently appeared on Ingor van Rooi’s Wonder Women Wednesday show to share her suggestions for effectively dealing with obstacles and harnessing the power of tenacity to unlock your and your business’s full potential.
Although she now runs a successful social media marketing agency, her beginnings were modest. Kami put herself through college, taking two extra years to earn her degree because she was working while going to school.
Modest Beginnings Taught Her How to Get Things Done
“I came from a blue collar family, sort of lower to middle class, and we didn’t really have money to send me to college,” she says, “so I ended up starting at a community college and kind of worked my way from there and I put myself through school. I didn’t graduate until I was 24 years old.”
When she had finally earned her degree, the economy was tight and “it was really hard to find a job. And so I went without a [full-time] job for almost an entire year, and I was working a bunch of different jobs” to make ends meet.
Eventually she got a job at the Manufactured Housing Institute in Washington, D.C. She stayed there for eight years until she got married and relocated to Texas for her husband’s work.
“That’s where things kind of fell apart because I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t have any contacts, and I had no idea how to really start a business or maintain a business,” she shares. “So it was a lot of hard years of learning.”
Make Professional Contacts by Showing Up and Helping
She decided to open her own boutique consultancy, a precursor to Zoetica Media. Eventually she found clients, not by aggressively trying to land new accounts but “mostly by serving [others]. One of the first things I did is show up at a PRSA San Antonio meeting [which ended up being a valuable networking opportunity].”
Kami recommends others do what she did. “I’ll go out and I’ll start meeting people. I’ll go to existing [events] that are already happening and just help.”And remember that “when you’re coming into someone else’s space, you need to be as supportive as possible. So whenever I come into anyone’s community or space, that is the first thing I do, I try to be extremely supportive…. And then people start to notice you and ask you in.”
Find a Need and Fill It
Making a name for yourself also entails identifying unmet needs and finding solutions for your community. Kami did that with the monthly Social Media Breakfast of Houston, which has been running for thirteen years now.
As the mother of three children, she says she “had a lot of constraints on my time….I launched Social Media Breakfast of Houston as a way to connect with people that were in the same [professional] space as I was.”
Bring People Together
Community-building is key, she feels. “[Today] we have a really great community of people that are committed to each other, that are committed to each other’s success.” Furthermore, she explains she is still a part of PRSA Houston and, just as importantly, “I’m a part of other people’s communities.”
She lives by the motto “all the boats rise together,” adding, “I’m happy for your success and I will support you and your success. I don’t look at you as a competitor.”
Expanding on Ingor’s point that no one person or business can serve all clients and that there is enough work to go around, Kami argues that having a zero-sum approach “breeds an environment of toxicity.” By comparison, “when you work together, so much more can happen.”
Focus on Your Goals and Get Help When Needed
When it comes to achieving your goals, Kami believes that tenacity is the secret. “I just won’t give up,” she says.
Being tenacious can also mean recognizing when you need outside help. “When I need it, I’ll [go] get it and don’t feel bad about it….I think part of tenacity is not letting shame overtake you.”
She also credits putting herself into uncomfortable positions to learn new things as part of her secret to success.
Lastly, she encourages everyone to take that first step – “Hope without action is guaranteed disappointment” – and to always remember that “we are built on the shoulders of giants that have come before us.”
To hear more of Kami’s insights, watch the full recording.